Farm to Table Fermentation

March 16 - 19, 2018

 Register here →


Learn how to ferment foods wherever you live!

Chefs, doctors, and scientists around the world are now saying what our grandmothers have always known:  fermented foods are a delicious way to stay healthy, restore the immune system, and improve digestion.

 Fermentation is an ancient technique for cultivating natural strains of probiotic microbes, while simultaneously transforming food into some of the world’s favorite delicacies.  

In this intensive four-day course, learn the basic theory of the fermentation process and practice making a variety of fermented foods, including pickled vegetables, kimchi, herbal sodas and beers, ginger beer, vinegar, dairy kefir, dosas, and local starch sourdough.  Immerse yourself in the Ranch’s beautiful facilities, take a tour of our farm and unique natural buildings, and visit a local chocolate factory to learn how cacao is fermented, roasted, and made into bonbons.  Take home time-tested recipes and starter cultures, and begin to revitalize the art, practice, and delicious flavors of live-culture fermentation in your own home!  

This class is ideal if you:

  • Want to improve your digestive functioning and immune system.
  • Are interested in making fermented foods for yourself, your family, or as a business.
  • Have been prescribed probiotics by a doctor and want to supplement them with other live cultures.
  • Are new to fermentation or already have some experience.
  • Live in a temperate or tropical climate.
  • Want to understand the safety, science, and process of fermentation.

Sample Schedule (sequence will change as foods and microbes vary)

Evening Arrival
6:30 PM                               Dinner
7:30  PM                              Brief Introduction and Orientation to the Course

Day 1
8:00 AM - 9:00 AM        Breakfast
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM     Tour of the Ranch
 10:00 AM -12:45 PM       Introduction to Fermentation Theory, Vegetable Brines (Mixed Pickles)
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM          Lunch and Siesta
2:30 PM - 4:30 PM          Dry Salt Ferments (Kraut, Kimchi, Pickled Beets, Ginger Carrots, Hot Sauce)
4:30 PM - 6:30 PM          Free time
6:30 PM - 7:30 PM          Dinner


Day 2
8:00 AM - 9:00 AM         Breakfast
9:00 AM - 10:30 AM       Introduction to Water Kefir
10:30 AM - 12:45 PM     Ginger Beer and herbal sodas
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM           Lunch and Siesta
2:30 PM - 4:30 PM           Hooch
4:30 PM - 6:30 PM           Free time
6:30 PM - 7:30 PM           Dinner

Day 3
8:00 AM - 9:00 AM         Breakfast
9:00 AM - 12:45 PM       Dairy Kefir, milk fermentation theory
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM           Lunch and Siesta
2:30 PM –4:30 PM           Dosas, Sourdough Pancakes with any starch
4:30 PM - 6:30 PM           Free time
6:30 PM - 7:30 PM           Dinner

Day 4
8:00 AM - 9:00 AM         Breakfast
9:00 AM - 12:45 PM       Tour La Iguana Chocolate
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM           Lunch and Siesta
2:30 PM –4:00 PM           Vinegars
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM           Fermented foods party, culture hand off
6:30 PM - 7:30 PM           Dinner


Laura Killingbeck

Laura has been working with the Ranch since 2009.  She has bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Sociology from the University of Rhode Island, and has taken extensive continuing education courses on sustainable development and agriculture.  In 2014 she also completed a Fermentation Residency with renowned fermentation author Sandor Katz.  Laura is the Ranch’s Director of Food Systems and Fermentation, and has a hand in the production of thousands of gallons of fermented vegetables, soda, herbal beer, yogurt, and vinegar each year.  She oversees the development and management of food education programs at the Ranch, and works to create replicable systems for utilizing whole foods from local foodsheds on both a community and home scale.  When she’s not at the Ranch, Laura works as a Food Systems Consultant for Round the Bend Farm Center for Restorative Community in Massachusetts.  Laura has traveled widely in Latin America, often accompanied by her partner Scott and her live microbial cultures.  She is a current Wilderness First Responder, an avid jungle bug watcher, a closet fiction writer, and a pretty scrappy Frisbee player.



For more information about food and lodging please see our website at accommodations.


Students should plan on arriving to the Ranch no later than 8 a.m. on the morning of the first day of the class (March 16).  We encourage students to arrive the night before (March 15).  The night of March 15 is included in the cost of the class.  


The class wraps up in the afternoon on March 19.  Most students will depart in the morning on March 20.   


Cost includes 5 nights lodging, all meals, course instruction and full access to Rancho Mastatal and its private wildlife refuge.  A $250 deposit will secure your space in the course. Please follow the link for payment options


To enroll in the class, please go to our Online Registration Form.  For more information please contact Tim O’Hara at and/or call the Ranch at 2200-0920. We have a maximum of 20 openings for this workshop and a minimum of 5 students to run the course.