“There’s not a whole lot of equipment that we use,” he explains of Wills Valley, his minimalist organic vegetable fermentation production. “We’re taking [the product] right out of the crock, putting it in a jar and putting a lid on it.”
Raw food fermentation, the art of processing using microorganisms, preserves fresh vegetables, dairy, and dried meats by enabling healthful bacterial strands and yeasts to break down food in the absence of oxygen. This process alters flavor and texture while increasing the available nutrient content. The aging process can take weeks – in some cases months – giving craft foods like cheeses, beer and chocolate distinct and subtle flavors.
Acquiring an old-fashioned fermentation practice proved to be a solid business move, but also spoke to Forrest on a gut level. The traditional fermenting method is, in all likelihood, older than fire and is practiced by most native cultures. In recent years, fermentation has been popularized by food activists, including Sally Fallon (Nourishing Traditions) and Sandor Katz (Wild Fermentation and The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved).