After trying Vicki’s homemade yogurt, (drizzled with fresh honey of course) I was curious about the process of lactofermentation. After discussing different foods associated with the process, we stumbled upon the topic of kombucha tea. Vicki pulled out her go-to cookbook, Nourishing Traditions – The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon, and had me read a portion on lacto-fermentation and kombucha. Intrigued by the drink’s health benefits, Vicki offered me a portion of her kombucha mushroom so that I could make my own.
3 quarts filtered water
1 cup sugar
4 tea bags of organic black tea
½ cup kombucha from a previous culture
1 kombucha mushroom
Bring 3 quarts filtered water to boil. Add sugar and simmer until dissolved. Remove from heat, add the tea bags and allow the tea to steep until water has completely cooled. Remove tea bags. Pour cool liquid into a 4-quart pyrex bowl, and add ½ cup kombucha from previous batch. Place the mushroom on top of the liquid. Cover pan with a towel and rubber band for 7 to 10 days and kombucha will be ready, depending on the temperature. Transfer to covered glass container and store in refrigerator.
After learning how to make kombucha tea, Vicki introduced me to a fashion designer via TED Talks that grows clothing from kombucha mushrooms. Although I am not studying fashion design myself, the concept blew my mind and made me realize the potential of agriculture as an art form: http://www.ted.com/talks/suzanne_lee_grow_your_own_clothes.html
It was also at this time that Vicki gave me some insight to her own art career. She showed me the portfolio from her final art show, and pointed out an installation involving a small boulder. The piece, she explained, was based on the idea of staying grounded. For her, it was after having a baby that she realized her role as a mother needed to come before her role as an artist. The way I interpreted it was that although an artist will surf through the clouds to find inspiration, it is important for them to walk upon the earth as it is. I learned that after inheriting the farm, Vicki made a decision to start a new chapter in her life that no longer involved art, but rather focused purely on staying grounded. Although this story was not directly encouraging for me as an artist, it forced me to analyze my own life and priorities. At this point in time, I am striving to find a balance between the two, and I realize that this will take time.