Sarah's 'Farm Chi' Kimchi Recipe


bok choySarah spent every Friday on our fields for a couple years while she lived in Maryland. She was in glee with every green thing we grew. Sarah is rooted in the soil. Helping on the farm fueled her week with energy and veggies. She became a workshare on the farm and a friend to our family. When she moved away, I wanted to tribute a blog entry to Sarah and I knew it would be about making Farm Chi.

Farm Chi is Sarah’s version of kimchi, full of mixed veggies, whatever is fresh from the farm. We would send Sarah home with veggies from the farm, and some of them would make it into her jar of Farm Chi. Sometimes cabbage and bok choi and sweet turnips and broccoli raab. Sometimes nappa cabbage and kale and carrots and garlic scapes. Kimchi is fermented vegetables, full of probiotics good for your gut. Farm Chi contains all the energy of the farm, spicy and crunchy and vibrant and good for you. It contains all the energy of Sarah too, cheerful and smart and vibrant and connected to nature.

How To Make 'Farm Chi' Kimchi Recipe

Sarah’s in the car on her way out of town, talking to me on the cell. I’m writing down notes as she explains to me how to make Farm Chi. Coarsely chop whatever’s in the frig, says Sarah. Nappa, strips of carrots, turnips, kale, broccoli raab, garlic scapes. Submerge in a salt water brine (1 TB salt: 1 cup water) overnight. Pour off the brine and save it. Optional rinse. Pour the sauce into the veggies: hot chili powder, three garlic cloves, an inch of ginger, ten garlic scapes, fish sauce. It’s flexible. Blitz the sauce in a blender or food processor, then pour it in with the drained veggies. Stamp it down with a wooden paddle, then add back some brine until there’s liquid at the top. Set it out on the counter for 3-4 days, ideally around  72 degrees. Pack into jars and put it in the frig.

Sarah had limited space in her little downtown apartment, yet she made things happen, like Farm Chi. She made small batches in recycled jars and containers. She didn’t come up with excuses on why she should do these things later, when she had her own garden or a bigger kitchen. She made do and made things happen.

kim cheeMe, I asked my hubby for a crock for my birthday. I love my big three-gallon fermentation crock. I make big batches with three nappa cabbages and all the Farm Chi fixins, but the crock is not required. Some non-metallic container (salt corrodes it) would work. The crock liner of a crockpot would work great. The cabbage is bulky at first, then the salt shrinks it down.

Sarah’s enthusiasm for healthy living shines through her smile, just as it does through her Farm Chi. That’s why I think of her when I make a batch. She loves all things natural and how we can create connections that reflect nature. She studied permaculture. She stuffs bok choi leaves in her mouth with the joy of a child. She taught me how to make Farm Chi.

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