Last year, more than 500 people crowded into a sweaty conference room in the Pearl District's Ecotrust building to celebrate rotting food. That is, fermented, pickled, brined and other kinds of delicious grub, from kimchi and cider to sauerkraut and kefir, created by pretty much sticking something in a jar and letting it sit. The response to the city's first home fermenters festival, spearheaded by a cadre of locals including Picklopolis' David Barber and Food Lover's Guide to Portland author Liz Crain, was overwhelming. This year, the funky madness is back, with more than 30 home fermenters pimping their vinegary, spicy creations, plus ferment-minded local food and drink business owners (all samples are covered by the $5 entry fee). What purveyors should you make a beeline for first? Tressa Yellig of Salt, Fire & Time has promised to proffer samples of "verbena lacto-fermented soda" as well as curtido and pumpkin yogurt; Jaime Holub's got "love potion kraut"; and Kate Patterson will be tempting tasters with fermented salmon—just to name a few. And don't think you'll escape the fermenters after this Wednesday's event. "In late 2010 and throughout 2011, we hope to help organize neighborhood fermentation parties," says Crain. Let the rotting begin.


The Second Annual Portland Fermentation Festival takes place at Ecotrust's Billy Frank Jr. Conference Center, 721 NW 9th Ave. 6-8 pm Wednesday, Oct. 20. $5. All ages. For more info, visit or email