If you’re looking for A Nice Vegan Lunch, make sure Fermenter is on your radar. Brought to you by Chef Aaron Adams, Fermenter is a fermentation-focused micro restaurant built on the same aesthetic and ethics as Farm Spirit, which are described in the manifesto on its doors and website. All the ingredients for both restaurants are sourced within 105 miles, and Fermenter offers the same nourishing, plant-focused cuisine that we know and love from Farm Spirit, but at a more accessible level. The ever-changing Fermenter lunch tasting is $20 for three courses and the take out bowl, offered in a $2 refundable deposit container, is $7.50. You can also purchase a Culture Club glass jar for $10 and receive $1 off whenever you bring your jar to purchase a house made fermented beverage.
Located in the original Farm Spirit space on Morrison, Fermenter offers four cozy seats at the chef’s counter. The rest of the space serves as a fermentation lab and kitchen, where all the behind the scenes vegetable magic happens. Fermenter is currently open Wednesday to Friday from 11am to 2pm, but there are plans to expand hours soon. I recommend that you get there early or be prepared for a short wait. Enjoy a house made beverage or snacking on a $1 pickle on a stick while you wait for to seat to become available. I was lucky enough to score on one of the spots at the second seating on opening day.
At Fermenter, creative vegetable dishes are accented by the distinctive funky flavors of lacto fermentation. Every dish that comes out of the kitchen has a fermented component, including the beverage menu of house made kombucha, kefir, and sodas. The cheery strawberry lemon balm tibicos (the traditional word for kefir) was especially delicious as I soaked up the sunshine while waiting outside.
On the opening day menu, the lunch tasting began with a perfectly ripe Cherokee purple tomato salad with lacto fermented tomatillo sauce, gooseberries, and basil. To keep the tomatoes bright, Aaron ditched the olive oil and opted for a more delicate dressing. This tomato salad is exactly what I needed on that scorching hot day.
If you’ve been following Fermenter on Instagram, you might have seen them post a photo of their house made black bean tempeh. In this dish, it’s paired with lacto fermented mushroom, kale, hazelnut yogurt, and pepitas. So much earthy and savory goodness in this little wooden bowl. The opening day lunch menu as a whole was incredibly delicious, and this tempeh dish was such a standout. I wish I could have had a second round of this dish to take home for later.
Last, but not least, abenaki porridge cake with lacto fermented blueberry sauce and fresh fruits. I’m a fan of fruit-based desserts that are not too sweet, and this one was a lovely end to the meal.