At Fair Share Farm we believe that if you want nutritious food, you must first start with healthy soil. For, since you are what you eat, you are also what your plants eat.
Our Recipe Step One—Raising the Ingredients
The first step in producing Fair Share Farm ferments is to feed the soil a nutritious diet that can be passed along to the vegetables that go into our products. We see our farm’s soil as the stomach of the plants we grow, and feed it a diverse diet of cover crops (grains and legumes), hay and straw mulch, compost, minerals, animal rotations, and organic fertilizer. These biological farming methods also serve to sequester carbon in our soil
Just like the good microbes in your gut, the life in the soil digests the food we give it, and passes nutrients along to the plant. Over 13 years of farming we have seen that it is not only nutrition that is passed along, but flavor.
Step Two—Preparing the Ingredients
At Fair Share Farm, we are the ones that harvest the vegetables that go into our ferments. This short distance of travel from field to jar has the inherent benefits of freshness and product control.
As farmers and fermenters we are a part of a continuum from seed to jar. We are thus able to maintain product quality and control through our growing and handling practices.
Ferments are made by hand in small batches. Our on-farm kitchen is a Clay County Health Department Food Establishment. We are permitted to ferment vegetables, in accordance with our HACCP plan.
The source of bacteria for a good ferment is an important factor. For our ferments we use the fermenting bacteria found naturally on our vegetables.
The main bacterium that does the fermenting for us is lacto-bacillus. They are in our soil, on our cabbage and other vegetables, and in our digestive system. During the fermenting stage they break down the vegetables, releasing nutrients in a form our body can more readily absorb.
A good ferment is known to have many virtues. One is flavor. The taste of a ferment is very different than the raw version of the same vegetables. Its flavor profile is changed to become richer, more tart, and likewise aromatic. It is this complexity of tastes that pleases the palette.
Ferments deserve a place at the table during most every meal. As live culture-foods, they are a natural digestive aid. We recommend adding them to your diet for both health and flavor.
The simplest way to eat them is as a side-dish or garnish. Top your morning eggs with a little kim chi, snack on some daikon pickles before dinner, add some sauerkraut to that grilled cheese sandwich, or top your burrito with jalapeño en escabeche. So many possibilities.
Kimchi: We raise several different varieties of napa cabbage for our traditional kimchi. A diversity of varieties provides more complex flavors and reduces our farming risk. We use only vegetables and salt in our kimchi, keeping it vegetarian and vegan.
Green Kimchi: This variety of kimchi is based on several different Asian greens, including bok choi and tat soi. These mustard greens provide a hearty body to this ferment.
Cucumber Pickles: Our cucumber pickles are a traditional dill-seasoned recipe. We take particular care with our cucumber plants, harvesting their fruits when they are small and crunchy. We recommend drinking the brine of this ferment to the last drop. It is good by itself, or mixed with the beverage of your choice.
Jalapeno en Escabeche (available in July 2017): This Mexican staple is yet another traditional recipe for the fermenting of vegetables. Spicy and flavorful, use it as you would any hot sauce.