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Rutland Area Farm and Food Link (RAFFL) promotes local food knowledge, production and market opportunities for farmers and community members throughout our region.

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The Vermont Fermentation Festival Returns

Phil Gurley

By Dan Colton

Green Mountain College will host the second Vermont Fermentation Festival in Poultney on Saturday, Nov. 1 from 9:30am until 4pm.

The Vermont Fermentation Fest is a celebration of the many varieties of fermented foods and the nutritional benefits they have to offer.  Sauerkraut, mead, kimchi, kefir, and kombucha are just some examples of the variety the Fermentation Fest will feature.

Vendors of fermented foods, such as Real Pickles, Flack Family Farm, Chrysalis Cultures,  Rhapsody Natural Foods, Groennfell Meadery, Katalyst Kombucha, and Plymouth Cheese, will be on site offeringattendees both the opportunity to sample and purchase goods.

Tickets for the event are available for $10 at the door, for $5 with a student I.D., and free for Green Mountain College students.

Fermentation Fest coordinator Leslie Silver grew up loving the kosher dill fermented pickles her father made. “As an adult I began to try and figure out how to make them.  There was never a recipe, it was trial and error.” Then years later, Silver attended a sauerkraut fermentation workshop. “I didn’t think I liked sauerkraut,” she admits, “but I kept hearing the health benefits of fresh kraut so I tried making it.  It was a whole different food!   I became a convert and began making my own sauerkraut.   I realized there was a way of preparing foods that tastes different when it’s not canned.  Learning to make my own pickles and fermented vegetables allows me to preserve my summer harvest way into the winter, which is really important to me.”

Last year, more than 200 visitors attended Fermentation Fest. “We’re really excited about it, says coordinator Jordan Perkins. We’ve got a lot of diversity as far as vendors and workshops go- probably more diversity than last year.  There are some pretty cool workshops going on as well, like mead making and learning to make dosas, a south-Indian fermented pancake and unusual fermented vegetables.

For those of you wanting to get started with fermentation, this is the perfect opportunity. Those of you who have already gotten into the “culture”, it’s a great place to learn some new recipes and new foods to experiment with

Techniques to prepare preserved items will be hot among the topics discussed for the panel of guests, which include Louise Frazier, one of the pioneers in the area of promoting and teaching about lacto-fermentation, cookbook authors Andrea Chesman and Leda Scheintaub, Beki Auclair of VT Fermentation Adventures, Christina Cunningham, health coach and owner of Chrysalis Cultures, Ricky from Groennfell Meadery and more.

“Fermentation of foods often enhances nutrition,” Perkins continues. “It not only preserves nutrient content, it also enriches it as vitamins are created during the fermentation process. Eating live cultured foods helps to play an important role in intestinal health, adding probiotic bacteria into the digestive system which then helps the immune system.”

The event is organized by RAFFL and Green Mountain College, with the support of Real Pickles, Flack Family Farm, and Rhapsody Natural Foods.

Whether you’re interested in the second annual Vermont Fermentation Festival for the food, the discussions, or both, it will be a good way to get out and have some fun.

Dan Colton is a beginning farmer and journalism student concerned with the security of healthy foods for everyone.

Originally published in the Rutland Herald.