Gathering the Harvest

Preservation, Fermentation and Wild Food
Instructors: Megan Spencer and Steven Martyngatherharvestmedium

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burdock root being added to sauerkraut

The bounty of food at this time of year is stupendous. Every day, full baskets pour in from the gardens.

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different nectar creates a range of colour tones in our honey, ready for mead making

But how do we keep all this fresh food?

For most of us who live in Canada, we live in a very strange place for animals built like ourselves. We have to produce all the food for the year in three or four months; the period between hard frosts. If you are living off the land you need to preserve the vast majority of the year’s produce in the last six weeks of summer! Rising to meet this formidable challenge takes most of us years. First, we learn how to grow and wild-harvest enough food to last the long winter. At first much of the abundance goes to waste. So then we need to learn how to preserve and use all that food.

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pak choi kimchi

In this workshop you will learn about and participate in age-old traditions of food storage such as fermenting, dehydrating and root cellaring. We will also cover the basics of canning as well as tricks for freezing fruit and vegetables.

We will be harvesting the day’s bounty together, as well as spending a portion of the day learning about and processing gifts from the wild and garden.

 

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kimchi

 

The Rhythm of our days:

After breakfast, the group will spent the mornings with Steven in the field harvesting and learning. Steven’s teaching method is informal and spontaneous. A short walk can unfold into many teachings, ancestral links and stories of the land. He brings 35 years of experience foraging, and twenty of teaching to the group, as we harvest and prepare the wild plants and gifts of the garden the Earth offers us. Information about many plants may be given but we will only really work with one or two plants each day so there is time to deeply interact with and learn directly from the plant. When we learn about plants in this hands-on way we never forget the information.

cleavers gone to seed, ready to prepare 'coffee'.
cleavers gone to seed, ready to prepare ‘coffee’.

A few delicacies that will be prepared from the morning harvests are: wild nut and seed flour, dandelion and Cleavers coffee and Sarsaparilla root beer.

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beets, carrots and burdock root ready to be added to sauerkraut

In the afternoon participants will also be schooled the art of fermentation by Megan. Our fermentation teachings are very much inspired by Sandor Katz, who facilitated a workshop at the Sacred Gardener farm in 2008. Sandor’s book ‘Wild Fermentation’ contributed to the rebirth of food fermentation. Since that time, our experience and knowledge of fermentation has grown with the number of living-culture friends which we keep alive and which keep us alive.

We will make sauerkraut,kimchi, yogurt, sourdough bread and mead as well as discuss many other house ferments such as keifer, miso, beer, wine and vinegar.

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beets, peppers, burdock, carrots, juniper berries, dulse and garlic all ready for sauerkraut

You’ll take home a litre of sauerkraut or kimchi that you made!

Workshop fee includes taxes, camping spot and 12 organically grown and wild-infused meals.