Hi and welcome to Whitelock Ferments! My name is Kathe and this all here is a little project I’m starting at Whitelock Community Farm, a place that I hold so near and dear to my heart. I started volunteering at Whitelock last year and it has been one of the best experiences of my life. I’ve met some of the greatest people, learned so many amazing things, and have felt nothing but support from Whitelock and the Baltimore community at large.
This all comes about from a few places. First, after one summer of farming, I realized how much good produce goes to waste. People don’t buy ugly, split, a tad beaten up produce. From walking around farmers markets and even just from dumping compost, I’ve seen how picky people can be with their produce and it’s a serious waste. If they only realized that with a little chop here and a little cut there, that “ugly” vegetable is perfectly usable and delicious. Second, as I started to become more involved with farming, I began to recognize the natural transition fermentation holds from farming. Long before the invention of refrigeration, farmers would pickle all of their vegetables to have food for the winter (little did they know they were turning dirt to gold!). I come from a fully blooded Polish family, so fermented foods are absolutely nothing new to me. They’re things I’ve been consuming before I could speak about all of this!
After starting to focus on the connection between farming and fermentation, I realized it wasn’t really present in American culture. I’ve noticed that America is afraid of fermentation, afraid of bacteria, and chooses pasteurization to the max. I met and worked for the lovely Meaghan Carpenter of Hex Ferments (who is doing an amazing job of making some of the best kraut and kombucha I’ve ever had!). She taught me more about lacto fermentation and also about the importance of spreading that knowledge to others, since its exposure in the states is only beginning to blossom. Fermentation is a vital part of food culture that is missing in America. Mostly every other country and culture has developed some sort of fermentation method that they’ve sustained on for years. The lack of fermentation, massive scare of “live bacteria,” and the mass consumption of processed foods has led so many Americans to face a vast amount of health problems, such as serious cases of diabetes, heart disease, digestive problems, etc. The list really goes on.
I want this blog to reflect on the importance of wasting less food and learning that even a few bits of an “ugly” vegetable can be fermented into something that is so much more than what it was originally. Fermented vegetables are blessed with an array of vitamins, minerals, and do wonders for your body and digestive system! I want to spread my knowledge of urban farming, eating wholesome foods, the history of farming and fermentation, and acknowledge the importance of sharing with others and the community.
Here's to the beginning of a whole new fermenting chapter at Whitelock Farm! Stay posted for recipes, tips, workshops, and images of all sorts!
Whitelock Community Farm Ferments!
From farm, to jar, to table.