Urban Farm Fermentory
What was the inspiration behind Urban Farm Fermentory? The Urban Farm Fermentory began as a simple idea of connecting the people of Maine to the ingredients around them through fermented beverages. Equally important to us was finding a way to increase people's quality of life, whether that be through the benefits of fermented beverages, or via the social pleasures of enjoying a locally crafted alcoholic drink with friends and family.
What are your key products and can you describe the production process? UFF started eight years ago making kombucha and cider (or “cidah” as we call it), and to this day they continue to be our two primary and most recognizable products. Our kombucha is made by fermenting a blend of green and black tea with organic cane sugar. Our kombucha culture, also known as a SCOBY, is a symbiotic community of bacteria and yeast. We utilize a delicious base ferment to highlight the flavors we source locally. By flavoring our kombucha with single local ingredients, we are allowing for consumers to taste the seasonal flavors of Maine. We encourage visitors to the tasting room to blend different flavors to create a unique blend and see how different ingredients enhance one-another.
All of our cidah is wild fermented. This means we simply press local Maine apples and allow nature to ferment the juice into hard cidah. We do not add yeast, sugar or sulfites to any of our cidahs. This process creates a delicious dry cidah, with fruity, tanic and funky notes. Our cidah experiences slight variations throughout the seasons, allowing for our community to further taste the seasonal changes Maine has to offer. Our Super Dry Cidah is our flagship and base for other variations that are flavored using locally sourced ingredients, such as Maine organic blueberries and Maine seaweed.
From where do you source ingredients? Most of our ingredients are either purchased from local farmers or forged for by our team. We go out of our way to try to source organically when possible and use many MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association) Certified Ingredients for our beverages. To supplement the foraged and purchased ingredients, we also maintain a greenhouse on-site where we tend to a large number of plants we use throughout the year. We are also fortunate enough to have an amazing community of supporters in the region that regularly bring us excess from their own crops. Recently we've started engaging more people in the community to go foraging with us....we'll take care of refreshments.
How has Urban Farm Fermentory changed over the years and what is your vision for the future? UFF has explored many forms of farming (aquaponics, mushroom) and food fermentation but we have focused the past few years on the foundation of beverage fermentation. We have added mead (honey wine), beer, gruit (old school beer brewed with locally sourced ingredients instead of hops), jun (honey fermented tea) and vinegars to our beverage program. As we continue to expand our brand into other areas of the Northeast, our goal is to open new operations in these extended regions with a focus on locally sourced ingredients. This will allow for other communities to experience the philosophy behind UFF using ingredients from their region.
What do you wish more people knew about Urban Farm Fermentory? How much variety we offer across the board. Most of our followers are familiar with the kombuchas and cidahs that we bottle and can, but we pride ourselves on our experimentation in house. In 2017, we produced around 200 different fermented beverages utilizing a wide variety of locally sourced, grown and foraged ingredients. Every time you walk into our tasting room, you will experience a new range of beverages that capture the seasonal flavors. Currently our seasonal flavors include rose petal, lilac, dandelion, mint, rhubarb and sage.
UFF utilizes our tasting room as a Community Engagement Hub in a variety of ways. We allow local artists to display their work and have gallery nights, various groups to host fundraisers, local educators to teach workshops etc…We believe that, “the people’s spirit is raised by culture,” and we truly want to lift up our local community.
Be sure to join us this week on Friday, July 6th from 4-6 PM to sample fermented beverages by Urban Farm Fermentory as part of Portland Buy Local Week.