This month, we are honored to have Susan Vinskofski as our guest teacher on Rootsy. She planted her first vegetable garden at the age of 16. Susan is also passionate about building soil, as well as growing and eating the most nutrient-dense food she can find. Besides gardening and blogging at LearningandYearning, she can be found in the kitchen preparing food from local farms as well as fermenting produce from her garden.
ANY OTHER AREAS OF SIMPLE LIVING ABOUT WHICH YOU ARE PASSIONATE?
I’m so intrigued that our ancestors knew how to preserve food, most likely without understanding the science, long before the advent of canning and modern refrigeration. And I love that fermenting is so much easier and healthier than canning.
I am also passionate about gardening and foraging for wild food and love that fermentation is a great way to preserve much of what I grow and even forage.
WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION OR PUSH FOR THIS LIFESTYLE?
That’s a hard question to answer. Although I’ve almost always lived in a city or town since childhood, I’ve been intensely attracted to farming and natural living. I started gardening at 16, learned to sew and quilt from my mother, and have always loved to cook and bake from scratch. I love nature and the God who created it and want to do all I can to be a good steward of the earth.
HOW DID YOU PICK UP YOUR FERMENTING SKILLS?
Several years ago I was having trouble with food sensitivities and asked a friend of mine if she knew anything about the ways to improve digestion. She introduced me to the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. That was the first I heard of fermenting foods to increase the digestibility and help maintain a healthy gut flora. It seemed so overwhelming at the time, but I’ve found it to be such a simple way to preserve the abundant harvest from our garden. We do can some as well, and dehydrate quite a bit.
HOW DOES ONE AVOID OVERWHELM WHEN GETTING BACK TO THEIR ROOTS?
Start small. Choose one vegetable, like cabbage, and make a small batch of sauerkraut for example. I give similar advice to new gardeners. Don’t start growing “all the things”. You’ll just be overwhelmed and end up quitting. A marathon runner didn’t start training for a marathon. She started with a mile and likely walked as much as she ran.
IF YOU COULD GIVE JUST ONE PIECE OF ADVICE ON YOUR FERMENTING PURSUITS, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
You know, I think the best advice is to enjoy the process and relax. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect.
BE SURE TO FIND SUSAN AT HER WEBSITE LEARNINGANDYEARNING AND ON HER SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS FACEBOOK – TWITTER – INSTAGRAM – PINTEREST