26 Jun 2020

Fermenting for good

From Country Life, 9:13 pm on 26 June 2020

Three and four-year-olds in the rural village of Clevedon have developed a taste for sauerkraut.

The kindergarten children have been making sauerkraut under the guidance of Kelli Walker who has set up a fermentary just out of the town.

Clevedon is about 35 minutes south-east of central Auckland.

Under Kelli's supervision, kids there squeeze out cabbage and watch the sauerkraut ferment and burble away before taking it home in jars to devour - much to the surprise of their parents.

Kelli uses foraged, edible plants and flowers and locally grown herbs to add a twist to age-old recipes. She also sources her vegetables from within 50 kilometres of home.

To give her own children the experience of a rural childhood, Kelli's family left their city life when a house became available on her family farm.

She started growing her own food and, when she produced too much, investigated what she could do with the excess. That's when her interest in wild fermentation began.

Five-litre jars on the kitchen bench have given way to commercial vats and now her Forage and Ferment sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir sodas are sold around New Zealand.

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Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook