Fans of the fermented and the funky-fresh should know that there's a new food meet-up in town. Last Wednesday, February 10, the Vermont Preservation Society hosted its inaugural potluck and food swap at Incubator, the pop-up culinary event space located in Misery Loves Co.'s former Bakeshop in downtown Winooski.
About a dozen local food enthusiasts mingled and swapped jars. Among the offerings were fermented celery and fennel (from Caitlin and Jason Elberson of Sobremesa), raw-milk fromage blanc (from Eiring Family Farm in Bakersfield), two-year miso (from Vermont Bean Crafters' Joe Bossen), hopped vinegar with valerian root (from Ren Weiner of Miss Weinerz), and mushroom hot cocoa and daily tonic (from Vermont Pepper Works).
The Elbersons founded the group as a way to bring folks with a passion for food and preservation together to sample each other's creations, swap homemade goods and share cooking tips and techniques. "I see VPS as a way for our community to connect over food we make — sharing experiences and tips with new friends and old," Caitlin Elberson wrote in an email following Wednesday's gathering.
Elberson said she had visions of VBS being about food preservation, but she sees the loose-knit group as open to interpretation. "I'm kind of curious to see what the community brings in," she said. Education is a big part of her mission, "whether it's a formal class or a conversation at a swap," and Elberson hopes the swaps will help people share everyday staples and explore foods beyond their comfort zones.
"Personally, I'm kind of intimidated by making something like lemon curd," she said. "But if someone brings it to a swap, I can imagine trying to make it after talking through that process."
Elberson plans on hosting monthly or quarterly meet-ups, which could take the form of workshops or harvest gatherings where growers help one another process produce en masse. The next gathering will be held at Incubator in late March or early April, and will be announced on the VPS Facebook and Instagram pages.
The original print version of this article was headlined "Pickle People"
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