Ferment Pittsburgh’s Justin Lubecki, together with his brother Nick, began a farming project in Spring 2017 an hour north of Pittsburgh, where the live, to explore what it meant to feed themselves throughout the year. Experimenting with crops and traditional farming techniques the next challenge would be to process, and preserve them naturally.
Having a good grasp on incubation is very helpful when making mold type ferments like tempeh and koji, or for reproducing your own spores for future use. And in the end the “art” of incubation doesn’t require much more than what you probably already have lying around the house.
I’ve always admired the meticulously detailed approach wine making takes with their ingredient. Conversely I love the simplicity of sauerkraut’s process which takes no special knowledge or skill. Here we might just have found a meeting of both worlds- a flavor enhancing method that begs for our laziness.
It was our second harvest of wheat this year. In addition to emmer and einkorn we grew an Italian durum, a French Red called Rouge Bordeoux, a specially bred Ukrainian called Banatka, and our flagship wheat which is also Ukranian called Halychanka.
The rye situation is somewhat different. I’ve begun setting it aside specifically for growing seed koji for the Culture Library. While the goal of the Library is to be perpetuating cultures in our own local environment, why not take it one step further and grow it out on a local grain stock as well.
So far the local rye koji has gone through about a half dozen generations. Hopefully after the New Year we’ll have grown out a large enough batch to offer in the Culture Library.