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A Bent to Ferment

Ready to get into fermenting or preserving food? Explore your DIY food leanings with local hands-on classes, plenty of encouragement, and easy access to supplies.

Cookbook author Nishanga Bliss offers classes in fermented foods at BioFuel Oasis. Photo by Joy Rubin Shen.

In this newsletter:

●   Vote for our Spring 2014 cover!
●   Tasty ABCs: the Edible Alphabet on view March 5–April 3
●   PRESERVED pops up - March 7
●   Seed-lovers swap - March 7
●   Explore the art of fermentation at BioFuel Oasis - March 8
●   Book Reviews: Fabulous Ferments/ Delicious Dried Foods!
●   Recipe: Crème Fraîche

Don't miss our new Spring issue, where you can read about 
composting at Frog Hollow Farm and innovations in fighting food waste.
Click on the cover image above for the online version.

Cover art: "Magic Tractor"
by Margo Rivera-Weiss.

Look for your print copy of our
Spring issue 
at many East Bay locations

Not a subscriber to this e-newsletter? Sign up to receive it by clicking here.
Please visit the Edible Events page on our website to check out a variety of local events. Click here.

Visit our new online CSA guide to sign up for a weekly delivery of local produce, eggs, meat, fish, or even chocolate.

We need your vote!

Stacy Ventura's Spring 2014 cover photo of bees at a hive is a national finalist in the EDDY awards given by Edible Communities. Voting closes on March 14, but you can cast an online ballot every day until then. Cast your vote here.
Scrumptious from A to Z

Celebrate the Edible Alphabet created by letterpress printer, illustrator, and graphic designer Elizabeth Hubbell. At her Berkeley studio, Hubbell works on a cast-iron vintage printing press to produce exquisite prints, invitations, and labels for wine and olive oil. Edible East Bay was delighted to feature Hubbell’s work on the cover of our Winter 2012 issue

The Edible Alphabet: Letterpress Prints from Avocado to Zucchini
Artist’s reception: Thursday March 5, 4–7pm; Show runs March 5–April 3
at Bucci’s, 6121 Hollis St, Emeryville  Info: Here.

A Pop-Up in a Garden Shed

It's spring, and who doesn't love to see what's popping up? We just learned about a new weekend pop-up in Oakland called PRESERVED, which launches on March 7 in a garden shed behind Neighbor, a lovely new Piedmont Avenue home and garden shop. PRESERVED offers supplies for pickling, cheese making, fermenting, brewing, sprouting, and canning, along with related books. Their space, an 8-foot x 12-foot cedar garden shed, also hosts Saturday morning workshops in traditional methods of preservation. Look for classes in pickling, kombucha, vinegar, shrubs, and more.

On the right, PRESERVED owner Elizabeth Vecchiarelli offers DIY kits for making kraut, kombucha, vinegar, and kefir. Photo courtesy of PRESERVED.
Seeds Galore

At this Annual Seed Swap, you can trade homegrown garden seeds and learn about seed libraries, which are currently threatened by regulations meant for commercial seed companies. The Bay Area Seed Interchange Library (BASIL) Project is part of a growing network of concerned farmers and community gardeners dedicated to conserving the remaining genetic diversity of our planet's seed stock. Its library of healthy vegetable, herb, and flower seeds is being made available free to the public. The annual swap also features a potluck supper and musical entertainment. The event is free with your potluck dish and seeds to share (or $10 donation). Wheelchair accessible. Learn more about seed libraries here

16th Annual Bay Area Seed Swap & Celebration
Saturday March 7, 7–9pm
Ecology Center
2530 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley 

Artwork by Demian Bartholomew

Urban Farm Haven

You’ve probably seen their nifty wooden sign and gas-station-style pumps on the corner of Ashby Avenue and Sacramento Street. BioFuel Oasis is a biodiesel station and urban farm store run as a worker-owned cooperative. The Oasis sells local, recycled biodiesel and urban farming tools and equipment. They also offer classes in keeping backyard bees and chickens, caring for fruit trees, and fermenting and preserving foods. Stop by on Saturday March 14 for Urban Farm Day, featuring free workshops and discounts on biodiesel and store items.

Class offerings include the upcoming Ferment Dairy session taught by holistic health expert and author Nishanga Bliss. Learn the simple art of fermentation to create foods with intriguing flavors that can strengthen digestion and immunity. This class is suitable for beginners and those who are already fermenting, who will learn about making
crème fraîche, Greek yogurt, and cultured butter, plus milk and water kefir. (See instructor Nishanga Bliss's recipe for crème fraîche below.) Cost: $40. Info and registration: or 510.665.5509

Ferment Dairy
Sunday March 8, 2–5pm 
Sticky Art Lab, 1682 University Ave, Berkeley

Biofuel Oasis is the perfect spot for urban farm supplies, DIY classes, and a tank of biodiesel. Photos (above and top right) courtesy of Biofuel Oasis.

Too cute to resist? Baby chicks will be available in late March at Biofuel Oasis.

Author Nishanga Bliss shares her wisdom on fermentation through classes at Biofuel Oasis.
Purchase this book
Fabulous Ferments and Delicious Dried Foods!

Reviews by Kristina Sepetys

People have been drying and fermenting foods for flavor, storage, and good health since time immemorial. Food preservation techniques offer inexpensive, easily managed ways to avoid letting food go to waste. Find yourself with more greens or fruits than you can use this week? Put ’em up! Sandor Ellix Katz’s The Art of Preservation and Phyllis Hobson’s Making and Using Dried Foods are two seminal how-to books on the subject, but here are some new books that make excellent companions to your dog-eared copies of those classics. You'll find recipes, tips for success, and updated resource lists.

Read the reviews here.

Crème Fraîche

Recipe from Real Food All Year by Nishanga Bliss reprinted with permission from New Harbinger Publications.

This easily made cultured cream has a wonderful mild flavor and will add probiotics, beneficial fats, and enzymes to any dish calling for cream, milk, yogurt, or sour cream. You'll save a lot of money by making it yourself. Crème fraîche can also be whipped and used as a dessert topping, or drained (as in the process for Greek yogurt) to make your own mascarpone. Be sure to source your cream from cows fed on pasture. Since it's now spring, that pasture forage gives the milk larger concentration of fat-soluble vitamins, such as A and D, so this is an especially good time of year to get started!

Makes about 1½ cups

1 tablespoon buttermilk
1½ cups organic whipping cream

Place the buttermilk in a pint jar, and add the cream. Gently stir together, cap, and allow to ferment in a warm place such as on top of the refrigerator for 2–3 days, until the crème fraîche begins to firm. Store in the refrigerator, and consume within 1–2 weeks.


Substitute this cultured cream in any dish that calls for cream, milk, yogurt, or sour cream.
Photo courtesy of Nishanga Bliss.

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