Kirsten K. Shockey, Fermentation Enthusiast and Food Preservation Educator
Name: Kirsten K. Shockey
Occupation: Writer and educator who helps people take responsibility for their food.
Place of Residence: Applegate, Oregon
Background and Personal History: From an early age Kirsten saw that food grounds people in place and culture. She has called a lot of places home, from Munich and Rotterdam to Indonesia and the high desert of Arizona. Each of these places has influenced her as she discovered foods, landscapes, and wonderful people. But what she really wanted was a place to follow her passion for nature and clean food.
Kirsten found what she sought 17 years ago when she and her husband moved with their young family to a homestead in the mountains of Southern Oregon. She became passionate about food from the ground up. The obsession became planting fruit trees, raising dairy animals, growing vegetables and preserving the harvests—all while homeschooling. Her four children grew (and they grew and grew, to a combined height 25 feet, 8 inches). Meanwhile her cheeses and fermented vegetables became so popular that she began a farmstead food company, producing for local markets and retailers and teaching her customers and local restaurateurs how to ferment foods for themselves. It soon became clear that creating new flavors with each season and teaching folks to create their own foods was at the heart of her business. She stopped making food commercially and has concentrated on sharing the arts.
Kirsten is a co-author, with Christopher Shockey, on the book Fermented Vegetables: Creative Recipes for Fermenting 64 Vegetables & Herbs in Krauts, Kimchis, Brined Pickles, Chutneys, Relishes & Pastes, 2014 by Storey Publishing.
Current Projects: In summer 2015, Kirsten will be teaching kids to ferment in a summer reading program at local library titled Fermento and Brine: Superheroes of the Vegetable Underground. She is currently working on another fermentation book where hot and spicy meet lacto fermentation.
Kirsten maintains the website Fermentista.kitchen and is a regular contributor to Taproot Magazine. She does some free-lance work writing about fermentation as well as some creative non-fiction. In her community she volunteers as a Cooking Skills Educator to teach folks at food banks to cook with whole foods. She writes scripts for a history series on her local public radio station. She is a board member of the local watershed council.
Other Fun Facts: Kirsten loves hand milking cows, knows how to make leather shoes and her guilty pleasures include growing more flowers than vegetables, taking afternoon naps in the hammock by the garden and playing with her grand baby.
More Places to Find Kirsten on the Web:Interview with TEND Magazine