28 January 2023
Fermentations are my favorite food category. Over the course of the past few weeks we have been moving barrels of wine from our Vashon Island farm to our new ranch property near Birkenfeld, Oregon in the Misty Mountains about an hour East of Astoria. Over the decades I have accumulated a prolific inventory of nearly 70 barrels of wine ranging from 2005 - 2014. I finally came to my senses and stopped producing further vintages so that we can focus on bottling and enjoying the magnificent selection of well-aged fermentations. With such extended aging, there is a range of quality. Most barrels have aged exceptionally well and we can’t wait to get them bottled and share them with you. A few of the barrels have become oxidized and we have chosen to transform those into an oxidative style in the tradition of sherry and Vin Jaune. We also are developing some incredible cherry infused Guignolet and walnut infused Vin de Noix, both of which are among my favorite transformations of an oxidized wine. Yet a few more barrels have succumbed to the alchemy of vinager, which has become a staple addition to our other ferments, such as mustard, pickles, olives, meat marinades, meat brines and salami. One of our favorite vinegars is made from the Cinsault grape which we use routinely to make our beloved salad dressing, a bottle of which is ever present in our kitchen. (I will share the recipe in an upcoming post.)
Having transferred and consolidated much of the wine, we were left with a few extra “vinegar” barrels which we decided to transform into fermentation vessels for our pickles, mustards, brines, cheeses and cured meats. Cutting the oak barrels in half renders two sturdy, convenient and robust food-grade, 30 gallon vats to cradle our fabulous fermentations. I can’t wait to fill our curing chambers with dozens of theses vats bursting with bountiful harvests in the coming years!
Thanks to a collaboration with our neighbors here at NeverStill we now have sufficient chicken eggs to begin bringing them to market again! From grass-pastured hens supplemented with organic feed the eggs are of superb quality. Stay tuned for duck eggs to be added later this year.
Rose will be operating the Magic Meat Truck this weekend. We have another fresh batch of mustard, as well as flavorful Red Ranger chickens, fat ducks, a freshly harvested grassfed Piemontese beef from our neighbors down the road in Mist, Oregon (arrive early this morning all you beef organ lovers!), and a lovely selection of sausages. I packed fresh jars of my briny olives and cornichons as well.
Find the Magic Meat Truck today at University District, this evening on Vashon Island, tomorrow at Ballard, and Monday evening in Portland! Details of time and address are at the bottom of this email.
—George & Rose