Happy El Nino!

Happy El Niño everyone,
It’s a double edged sword, all of this rain at once.  While we so need the water, it may seem as tho there isn’t a ton of variety at the market.  But this is a great time for fermenting. Turnips, radishes, kale, apples, cauliflower, even citrus all offer opportunities to put up stuff you will be grateful for in spring and early summer.  Whole, or in slaws the opportunities are almost endless.  I am using ‘kosher dill radishes’ I made at work with some leftover radishes we had after New Year’s Eve.  That over stock used with some dill and garlic led to something, four weeks later that I can’t stop eating. Don’t be discouraged by the clouds or rain.  The farmers markets still offer great stuff.  Don’t be afraid to experiment. If you need any inspiration or a jump start, Sam will be holding a class for the beginners level on sauerkraut and slaw. Everyone who comes will make their own batch of kraut and winter vegetable slaw to take home to continue to ferment. Watching the process is really the way to learn and understand what happens throughout vegetable fermentations. Go to www.eventbrite.com to sign up and let 2016 be the year you take your health into your own hands

The holidays at Golden State Pickle Works…

Greetings from freezing Sonoma! The holidays find us busy and grateful.  Pretty much like the rest of the year, but just ratcheted up a notch.  While Anthony is on the verge of being fully swallowed by his work as the chef of Lalime’s restaurant in Berkeley, I have been really enjoying the festive air at the farmers market.  A new product I am excited about is our Italian Winter Condiment.  Kitchens can be a world of discovery if you keep an open mind.  Over the years I have been fermenting in restaurant kitchens, and at home, I have learned to put stuff up even without having an intended use.  A few months ago I decided to ferment some winter squash, some chicory, some fennel.  Once I tasted the results it led me to make this condiment that just screamed ‘antipasto plate’ to me.  With cheese or salami or toasted bread with good local olive oil on it, it is really satisfying.  Anthony has been putting it on grilled chicken sandwiches for his lunch at work.  Simple, healthy, good.  The condiment is a touch bitter, ‘in the Italian way’, as Anthony says.  He is always reminding me of the saying ‘Italians believe that life is so sweet, you must add a little bitterness to it’ as an excuse for his love of broccoli rabe, chicory lettuces and Fernet. I guess, at least in the ways of the table, Anthony’s heritage has rubbed off on me a bit.  If only I could get Anthony to enjoy SPAM musubi…

Come by and see me at the market, fermented products make great winter eating.  Your body will be glad that you did!

We are Golden State Pickle Works

Welcome! Thanks for joining us.  “We” are Sam and Anthony, and we are Golden State Pickle Works. We are husband and wife, professional chefs, and pickle dorks. When buying (or riaisng / growing) large amounts of food you become sensitive to the waste that can happen in our food system, frugality becomes a necessity and waste is avoided at all cost.  Necessity being the mother of invention, as they say, leads us to find ways to use / preserve anything that may spoil before we can use it.  This ties us to our past and the past of other cultures by investigating the techniques and traditions that those before us used to solve the same conundrum.  Keeping these traditions alive is of interest to us and adds a deeper element to our cooking, literally and figuratively. Preserved food is an essential part of a well stocked larder, and having condiments, preserves, pickles and the like allow for improvisation and discovery.

Over time we have gravitated heavily toward fermenting.  While some of our products are vinegar pickles, the majority of what we do is lacto-ferment vegetables with salt and water, naturally, and then eat / serve these as pickles of use them to make condiments.  We are in the beginning stages of our journey, but we still have a lot to share.  I will update weekly with info on our products, or the farmers we buy from, or just random pickle blather.  In the meantime, get your pickle on at the farmers market (days) or the Sebastopol Community Market in the Barlow, or the Grand Fare Market in Oakland.