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Cumming Nature Center > Programs & Events

FLX FERMENTATION FEST

FLX Fermentation Fest celebrates the science and flavors of fermentation. From sourdough to sauerkraut, we’ll have something for everyone! 

  • Cumming Nature Center
  • August 12

  • 10am-4pm

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Welcome bacteria to the Nature Center for this flavorful, funky, and fun event!

Kickstart your fermentation journey this summer as you explore over a dozen workshops with fermentation experts, join the kraut mob, and discover delicious products at the vendor fair. The festivities will be headed by fermentation educator Soirée-Leone, who will end the day with a keynote presentation on “How We Eat and Fermentation.”

Families can also enjoy a family-oriented workshop on fermented foods, the sticky, slimy fermentation petting zoo, sourdough storytime, crafts, and more!

WORKSHOPS | FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES | INTENSIVE CLASSES


Admission
Adults | $25 for members/$28 for non-members
Children (ages 3-18) | $10 for members/$13 for non-members


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WorkshopS | 10-3pm

Learn to make a refreshing summer shrub, explore how fermented foods relate to human health, and reflect on the culinary and cultural intersections of fermentation in over a dozen different workshops. Led by regional and national fermentation experts, these engaging 45-minute demonstration-style workshops and presentations will inspire and equip you to bring fermentation home!

Schedule subject to change.

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Workshop Descriptions

Fermentation and Food Waste | Soirée-Leone
Curious about how the practice of fermentation can connect to your daily routines? Are you committed to lessening your food waste but you aren’t sure where to start? Join fermentation educator Soirée-Leone to learn how to minimize food waste and use fermentation to help keep edible food out of landfills and compost bins. Using a week’s worth of food scraps to demonstrate, she will talk about the many ways to transform “waste” into something useful and delicious! 

Sourcing Fermentation Starters and Cultures | Soirée-Leone
Have you ever looked at a fermentation recipe and felt overwhelmed by the ingredients list? Do you have questions about the best ways to source starters and cultures? In this demonstration you’ll learn from fermentation expert Soirée-Leone about how to collect and use plant-based sources of cultures and the cultures at the grocery store to jump start your fermentation journey!

Food, Ferments & Gut Health | Erin Harner
In this engaging talk, integrative registered dietitian nutritionist Erin Harner will explore the science behind fermented foods and their impact on the gut microbiome. She will also discuss how food and food components like fiber and phytonutrients affect gut health, as well as how and when to incorporate ferments into your diet. There will be plenty of time for Q & A.

Fermenting with Kids: An Interactive Workshop for Families | Erin Harner
In this engaging demo and discussion, Erin Harner, integrative registered dietitian nutritionist, will both show and share how to get kids involved in home fermentation projects, how to incorporate fermented foods into your whole family’s diet, and demonstrate a simple and delicious carrot ginger brine-based ferment that you can make at home. There will be samples for tasting and plenty of time for Q & A.

Basics of Sourdough | Lizz deSimone
Nothing beats the smell of fresh bread, and with this workshop you can learn to make sourdough at home! Led by sourdough expert Lizz deSimone, this workshop will cover the science of sourdough, techniques and recipes, and common issues.

Sourdough 201: Tips & Troubleshooting | Lizz deSimone
Do you want to take your sourdough to the next level? Find the help you knead! Led by sourdough expert Lizz deSimone, this workshop will focus on troubleshooting dough shaping, fermentation steps, flours, flavors, and add-ins to show you how to make every loaf delicious.

Pick Apart A Pickle  | Barb Brenner, CCE-Certified Master Food Preserver
Come pick apart a pickle with Barb Brenner, Master Food Preserver and lover of all things fermented! This presentation will explore the role of lactic-acid fermentation and brine in the preservation of vegetables and in the creation of delicious pickled foods. This is a great place to start to learn the basics of vegetable fermentation and how to bring these skills home to your kitchen and garden.

Beginning Homebrewing | Brian West, Upstate New York Homebrewers Association
Humanity’s love affair with beer began thousands of years ago and hasn’t slowed down yet! Join Brian West from the Upstate New York Homebrewers Association for an interactive demonstration on brewing your own beer. You’ll learn about the process of making beer, get familiar with the basic equipment, have a chance to smell and taste samples, and get connected to further reading, suppliers, and information.

Fermentation & Seed-Saving | Petra Page-Mann, Fruition Seeds
Discover the joy of fermentation and seed-saving! This workshop led by Petra Page-Mann from Fruition Seeds will explore the science behind fermentation as a seed-saving technique and give participants the knowledge to do it at home.

Switchels & Shrubs: The Original Electrolyte Drink | Kate Aghaghiri, Flower to Flower Herbal Crafts & Gifts
Would you love to taste a refreshing drink on a hot day called “Haymakers’ Punch”? How about a shrub mocktail? Learn the history, recipes, and benefits of the original electrolyte drinks called switchels and shrubs. Students will gain a historical perspective of these drinks, receive recipe ideas, and—of course!—enjoy taste-testing on a summer day. 

Plant-Based Cheeses  | Ali Lawrence, Spirit and Abundance
Dip into the world of dairy-free cheeses with Ali Lawrence of Spirit & Abundance! During this workshop you’ll learn the basics of making plant-based cultured cheeses and explore some of the diverse possibilities for vegan cheese.

Fermented Condiments  | Ali Lawrence, Spirit and Abundance
Explore what flavors fermentation can create in condiments! This demonstration will detail how to make your own fermented hot sauce and mustard to create layers of flavor. Learn how to customize condiments to your taste and learn about fermenting other condiments for your pantry.

Japanese Ferments Through Diverse Cultures  (Rebecca Echevarria)
Curious about the world of Japanese fermentation? Rebecca will discuss the unique qualities of Japanese fermentation, share how she has incorporated her heritage into Japanese ferments, and encourage participants to reflect on possible intersections between Japanese ferments and their own culinary histories.

Want to dive deeper? On Sunday, August 13, keynote speaker Soirée-Leone will be offering two hands-on intensive workshops on Infinite Ferments and Intro to Cheesemaking.


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FESTIVAL activities

Kraut Mob | 10am-2pm
Led by our friends at Fruition Seeds, join the kraut mob and make some gorgeous sauerkraut to take home! Bring your own quart jar from home or buy one at the nature center (supplies limited).

Fermentation Vendors | Ongoing
Check out the vendor fair and some of the most delicious fermented products that the Finger Lakes region has to offer. Note: there will not be a lunch option on site, but you are welcome to bring a picnic lunch and supplement it with treats from one of our vendors!

Nature Is Good for Your Gut: A Wellness Hike | 11am
Did you know that walking in the woods has an impact on your gut health? Join CNC naturalist Angela Cannon to explore the ways that our bodies are connected to our environment.

Keynote Lecture | 3pm
End the day with a keynote lecture from Soirée-Leone on “How We Eat and Fermentation.”

Family Activities | Ongoing
Fermentation isn’t just for grown-ups! At the activity zone, families can enjoy…

  • Sourdough Storytime & Starter Making Activity (2pm) | Listen to a story about Susie and her sourdough friends before making a sourdough starter to take home.
  • Fermenting with Kids: An Interactive Workshop for Families (1pm) | In this engaging demo and discussion, Erin Harner, integrative registered dietitian nutritionist, will show how to get kids involved in home fermentation projects, how to incorporate fermented foods into your whole family’s diet, and demonstrate a simple and delicious carrot ginger brine-based ferment that you can make at home. There will be samples for tasting and plenty of time for Q & A.
  • Culture Petting Zoo | explore the textures, smells, and sights of the wild world of microbial foods!
  • …Crafts and More! | enjoy crafts like Make-Your-Own-Microbe keychain, science experiments, a table of reptile and amphibian friends, the bacteria photo booth, and more!

Note: there will not be a lunch option on site, but you are welcome to bring a picnic lunch and supplement it with treats from one of our vendors!


ABOUT OUR KEYNOTE SPEAKER

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Soirée-Leone is a teacher and writer focused on food preservation in the context of stocking the pantry and putting food on the table. She grew up on an off-grid homestead in rural Maine in the 1970s. After 25 years in San Diego, California, she and her husband moved to Tennessee. She brings her background and experience as an urban homesteader and rural homesteader to food preservation education. She serves on several boards of food-centric organizations, as well as Chinkapin Craftstead, a rural arts and land preservation organization. She lives and works from her 57-acre homestead in Tennessee.


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SUNDAY INTENSIVE WORKSHOPS

On Sunday, August 13th, Soirée-Leone will lead two intensive fermentation workshops: Infinite Fermentation (2 hours) and Introduction to Cheesemaking (4 hours). These small-group classes will explore these topics in-depth and send participants home with a ferment to nurture with their new-found skills and knowledge.

Learn more about each class and register at the links below.

Note: There will be no additional general admission activities available on Sunday.


Would you like to join us as a vendor? We’d love to hear from you! Fill out this form to get in touch with our planning team: Workshop & Vendor Interest Form

About The Event

  • Cumming Nature Center
  • August 12

  • 10am-4pm