Jennifer Harris shares her favorite lunch items for the perfect summer picnic.

Photos by Michelle Feileacan

As the amiable and energetic director of the Sonoma County Fermentation Festival and monthly Vital Alchemy fermentation classes at the Sebastopol Grange, Jennifer Harris knows what’s good to eat—especially if it’s pickled or fermented. For that reason, we figured she’d also be an awesome picnic buddy. Over a pickle plate of wild huckleberries, asparagus, kimchi, and Iranian cauliflower at Backyard in Forestville, Harris gladly shared a list of treats that she’d pack in her Made Local picnic basket. Don’t forget to wash it all down with your favorite local beer, wine, cider, kvass, or kombucha!

Revolution Bread Rye Flour Sourdough

“Head baker and owner Eli Colvin is doing really cool things. He even goes so far as to use grapeseed flour, the milled seeds and skins of Sonoma County wine grapes, when he can get it. This is a sourdough bread that’s different from anything you’ve ever tried that’s using different varieties of wheat.”

Redwood Hill Farm and Creamery Miyoko’s Kitchen Cultured Vegan Cheese

“If I’m going to present a cheese basket, I like to grab from a couple of different sources. Redwood Hill does good seasonal herb-inspired goat cheeses. And then, Miyoko’s Kitchen cultured cashew cheese. It’s so freaking good. I’m not a vegan and I would just eat the heck out of this stuff. Miyoko Schinner is a vegan chef who started making vegan cheeses a couple of decades ago—she also makes a creamy, satisfying vegan butter and blue cheeses cultured with non-dairy, plant-based mediums.”

Golden State Pickle Works Fermented Blue Cheese Dip + Cauliflower Pickles

“The blue cheese is a wonderful, approachable dip made from cultured cream along with fermented celery root. The cauliflower pickles are fermented with spices and peppers like chipotle, which gives them a smoky and savory taste. The texture is similar to perfectly cooked mushrooms with just enough firmness to sink your teeth into. They aren’t necessarily what you think of when you hear the word “pickle,” but they are a truly wonderful example of how diverse that world can be. Top a bite of crusty sourdough with these for a truly rewarding treat.”

Sonoma Brinery Pickles

Photos by Michelle Feileacan

“These are widely found in the refrigerator aisle at Oliver’s Market and other high-quality local grocery stores. The earthy brine—with a slight hint of heat from peppers packed into each container—delivers flavors of slightly soured cucumbers rather than an overwhelmingly sharp vinegar pickle. Many “pickles” seem like vessels of vinegar, with much of the original fresh vegetable flavor lost along the way. But, one bite of these, and your mouth experiences the story of fermentation—the fresh cucumber, complimentary flavors of garlic and spice, and the deep flavors of true salt brine.”

Good Faith Farm Organic Olives

“These are produced in Central California, but you can find them locally at Community Market. The olive orchards, located in the Sacramento Valley at the edge of Mendocino County, are a mix of old and young trees, some dating back 150 years. Good Faith is the only company I know of that do olives cold-cured in salt brine for months. The sublimely buttery flavor remains deep in the olive because of the cold cure, as they are not heat treated—which removes oils from the fruit. Think of the taste of a fresh, young, local olive oil versus a heavily filtered and processed commercial olive oil. Much more of the fruit is represented in the taste and each fruit retains its unique balance of flavor. The texture is also superior to many commercial olives since the flesh has not been compromised by commercial brining practices.”

Good Faith Farm Organic Olives

“These are produced in Central California, but you can find them locally at Community Market. The olive orchards, located in the Sacramento Valley at the edge of Mendocino County, are a mix of old and young trees, some dating back 150 years. Good Faith is the only company I know of that do olives cold-cured in salt brine for months. The sublimely buttery flavor remains deep in the olive because of the cold cure, as they are not heat treated—which removes oils from the fruit. Think of the taste of a fresh, young, local olive oil versus a heavily filtered and processed commercial olive oil. Much more of the fruit is represented in the taste and each fruit retains its unique balance of flavor. The texture is also superior to many commercial olives since the flesh has not been compromised by commercial brining practices.”

BBQ Sauce-Marinated Alive and Healing Tempeh

“I start with Alive and Healing Tempeh, which is made by a company based in Windsor. Marinate the tempeh “cake” in your favorite BBQ sauce, making sure to dilute the sauce with kombucha or beer, anything with a little effervescence. Let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. Cut into slices, kind of like bacon, and fry it on both sides in a frying pan. You end up with a crispy, crunch on the outside like a home fry and an amazing, teeth-sinking spongy texture on the inside. This always wows people when I make it.”

Firefly Bean to Bar Chocolate Coconut Cream Bar

“This bar, made in Windsor, is as creamy as milk chocolate but with far less sugar—and no dairy. The sweetness of the coconut butter, which is added to stone-ground cacao, is a wonderful addition to the bright, sharp flavors of dark chocolate. The only ingredients are cacao beans, coconut butter, and coconut sugar, which proves that less is more: good chocolate shouldn’t have emulsifiers and extra fillers like soy lecithin. Chocolate maker Jonas Ketterle respects the flavors of the cacao bean and roasts them at lower temperatures to keep many of their fruity esters intact.”


Jennifer’s Yogurt and Berry Dessert Parfait:

2 cups fresh and local strawberries and/or blackberries

1/2 cup Sonoma Portworks “Sonomic” Red Almost Vinegar

1 cup Straus Greek whole-milk yogurt

Granola (optional)

Chop up the berries into small pieces. Place berries in a shallow dish and cover with Sonomic. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, place 1/2 cup of the Greek yogurt in the bottom of a to-go cup. Follow with a layer of the marinated berries, followed by another layer of yogurt, and a final layer of berries. Top with granola if you desire.


The Sonoma County Fermentation Festival is on Sept. 2, 2017 at the Petaluma Fairgrounds. Tickets available now at fermentfestival.com.

 

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