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As we settle into the heart of winter, it’s easy to look out over the fields of Whatcom County and wonder how it’s possible to eat anything seasonally this time of year. Even though the time of unlimited tomatoes has passed, there are still plenty of creative ways to eat locally year-round – even in January! How, you might ask? Well, that’s where the beauty of fermentation comes in. 

Fermentation has been a part of human life for 9000 years, and for good reason. It’s a way to preserve the bounty of harvest as well as incorporate beneficial probiotics into your diet. Luckily for us in Whatcom County, fermentation has come a long way since 7000 BCE, and there are plenty of creative options to eat local – even in the wintertime! 

Anyone who’s visited the Bellingham Farmers Market has fallen in love with Pangea Ferments, a family-run business making sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented pickles, jalapeños, beets, spicy Brussels sprouts, and other seasonal goods. They source local, organic vegetables to support the local food economy as well as preserve the harvest at peak season. Their ferments are delicious, nutritious, and perfect for enlivening winter meals.  

Photo courtesy of Pangea Ferments

Photo courtesy of Small Acres Farm

Another local business crafting ferments is Small Acres Farm. While Small Acres grows vegetables for their CSA, they also produce a wide variety of fermented products. They sell wild-fermented Pepper Sauce, which adds spice and probiotics to every meal, as well as traditional sauerkraut. 

Of course, we can’t talk about fermentation without talking about kombucha. Based in Bellingham, Kombucha Town produces all-natural, craft kombucha. They operate in an environmentally-friendly manner, always trying to reduce their footprint; their kombucha is packaged in reusable bottles as well as aluminum cans. They also use the highest-quality organic ingredients for kombucha that delights the taste buds – and is good for the planet!

And while it’s great to let the experts do their work, fermentation can be a fun and rewarding DIY project as well. With a little patience and a lot of cabbage, you too can create lively krauts. Fortunately, cabbage is in-season in the winter, so stop by a farmers market or local grocer, pick a recipe, and get fermenting! 

Photo courtesy of Kombucha Town

Fermented foods are pretty special – both trendy and traditional, plus packed with probiotics and flavor. If you’re looking to eat seasonally and creatively throughout the year, look no further. Find more local food at eatlocalfirst.org.

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