One of the things I love about a visit to the Homer Farmers Market (besides chatting with friends and eating good food) is seeing all the options for food production here. Local food is always fresher and more nutritious, but there is one kind of food you simply can’t buy off the grocery store shelves.
Fermented foods. Interestingly, fermented means that it is aged and being broken down by bacteria, so you wouldn’t think that “fresh” would be a factor. But the stuff you buy in the store, like sauerkraut, has been canned at high temperatures and therefore all the Vitamin C and all the beneficial probiotics are dead.
People used fermented foods for centuries before refrigeration. The bacteria and yeasts that grow in foods like kombucha, kefir, sourdough, pickles, kimchi and sauerkraut are all beneficial to our digestive health. So fresh is best.
Luckily, you can get it all down at the Market.
For a good selection of options, go see Ryan at the Love Farms booth. He has pickled rhubarb, kimchi, spicy zucchini, coconut kefir, sauerrüben (made with turnips), and sourdough starter made from yeast from his raspberry patch and Alaska Grown barley. He has a nice spread of samples so you can see what taste fits you best.
But Ryan isn’t the only one at the Market who has options to try. Kayla and Darius have kombucha at their mushroom booth but also green sauerkraut and red and even some spicy kimchi.
Or maybe you would prefer to grab some bread sticks with your kimchi and pickles from Kcenia and young Constentine on the other aisle. Even Bob Durr often has dill pickles stacked up from his abundance of cucumbers.
And when you are really focusing on your health needs, visit the Forget-Me-Not Alternative Healing booth for their fermented teas. Made with specific herbs and fermented with kefir, these teas are packed with nutrients that will support your system at all kinds of levels.
So head to the Market on Ocean Drive this Saturday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. or Wednesday from 2-5 p.m. this weekend for your fresh ferments.
Kyra Wagner is the coordinator of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.