Reverb

Marc Williams leads Wild Ferment-Nation Workshop    
By Jake Fraser
“Animals are something invented by plants to move seeds around.”-Terence Mckenna.2007 Warren Wilson alumnus Marc Williams recently led a group of knowledge hungry students on a first-hand guided journey that involved five exciting hours of discovering the often overlooked edible weeds that blanket our campus, followed by a crash course on glorious fermented foods, and concluded with a variety of delicious, peculiar, and nutritious fermented eats and drinks.This strangely hot day in December set a carefree summer-fun spooky global warming stinky person, kind of tone: right up Warren Wilson alley. We started the workshop with a stroll through campus identifying numerous edible plants along the way. From sassafras to creasy greens, our bio-diverse region houses a multitude of edible and medicinal plants. Our walk outlined some basic plant classification, field identification, culinary applications, and health benefits of plants we found along the way, some plants found include: Burdock, yellow dock, Ale hoof, sassafras, chickweed, nettles, wild onions, mint, wild carrots and their parsley-like greens, dandelion, fennel, yarrow, absinthe and mugwort.    After the information packed walk through campus, we gathered on the couches of lower fellowship, for an hour lecture on the products, history, and benefits of fermentation. All over the world, for thousands of years fermentation has been used to preserve foods like Sauerkraut, Kimchee, vinegar, yogurt, kefir, cheese, sourdough breads,pickles, soy sauce, coffee, tea, liquor, wine, mead,beer, and cider. These foods are rich in probiotics—which help improve digestion and general immune system warding off disease. Enzymes that breakdown complex proteins into simpler amino acids and B vitamins are also created through fermentation. Plus, the lactose in milk is converted to lactic acid. Besides the health benefits, fermented foods add variety in flavor and texture.
    We ended the day learning how to make some fermented foods including Sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, hummus, dosas, and kombucha. After an informative hands-on cooking session we gathered around to try our dishes as well as the diverse selection of fermented products Williams brought to share. To name a few, we made an arugula and fennel yogurt dip, hummus, and dosas, using some of the wild plants we picked earlier, and tried almost ten different kombuchas, water and milk kefir, jun, beet kvass, yogurt, sauerkraut and ginger brew of William’s. The group left the five hour workshop smiling with stomachs full and eyebrows raised.“If I can make it, why not?” said Marc Williams.Marc Williams has studied plants intensively for food, medicine, and beauty. His training includes; a bachelor’s degree concentrating in Sustainable Agriculture from Warren Wilson College, over a decade working at a multitude of restaurants, various farms, and the pursuit of botanical exploration throughout North/Central America and Western Europe. He is currently studying to get a master’s degree concentrating in Sustainable Development from Appalachian State University. (botanyeverday.com)“If you come to one of my workshops, you’re gonna learn something.” said Williams.Some handy highlights from the work shop:
 Fresh Mint     Tea

Mint,      the biggest spice family provides basil, thyme, oregano, Marjoram,     and of course mints. Warren Wilson’s usual suspects: Spearmint,     winter mint, mountain mint, bee balm, Heal all and lemon balm, all     easily recognized by their square stems and symmetrically opposing     leaves and can be mixed into water on the way to class to make a     delicious bourgeois drink.     

There are tons of wild green onions on campus, that can be safely identified by their distinct onion smell; Onions make a lot of food taste better.

Dorm-made     Yogurt
 Heat     up a half a gallon milk to at least 115 degrees F, add two spoonfuls     of store bought yogurt, and wrap it up in a sleeping bag or cuddle     with it for eight hours and BAM. To make Greek yogurt: place any yogurt in a strainer or colander, atop of a bowl in the fridge, until enough liquid has drained and a desired consistency is reached.

Sauerkraut/ Kimchee: Just combine three tablespoons of salt with about five     pounds of sliced vegetables, pressed tightly in a glass or ceramic     container. Make sure water rises above the vegetables within a     couple days, or add a cup of water and a tablespoon of salt. Let sit     for 10 days.
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Marc Williams leads Wild Ferment-Nation Workshop   

By Jake Fraser

“Animals are something invented by plants to move seeds around.”-Terence Mckenna.

2007 Warren Wilson alumnus Marc Williams recently led a group of knowledge hungry students on a first-hand guided journey that involved five exciting hours of discovering the often overlooked edible weeds that blanket our campus, followed by a crash course on glorious fermented foods, and concluded with a variety of delicious, peculiar, and nutritious fermented eats and drinks.

This strangely hot day in December set a carefree summer-fun spooky global warming stinky person, kind of tone: right up Warren Wilson alley. We started the workshop with a stroll through campus identifying numerous edible plants along the way. From sassafras to creasy greens, our bio-diverse region houses a multitude of edible and medicinal plants. Our walk outlined some basic plant classification, field identification, culinary applications, and health benefits of plants we found along the way, some plants found include: Burdock, yellow dock, Ale hoof, sassafras, chickweed, nettles, wild onions, mint, wild carrots and their parsley-like greens, dandelion, fennel, yarrow, absinthe and mugwort.

    After the information packed walk through campus, we gathered on the couches of lower fellowship, for an hour lecture on the products, history, and benefits of fermentation. All over the world, for thousands of years fermentation has been used to preserve foods like Sauerkraut, Kimchee, vinegar, yogurt, kefir, cheese, sourdough breads,pickles, soy sauce, coffee, tea, liquor, wine, mead,beer, and cider. These foods are rich in probiotics—which help improve digestion and general immune system warding off disease. Enzymes that breakdown complex proteins into simpler amino acids and B vitamins are also created through fermentation. Plus, the lactose in milk is converted to lactic acid. Besides the health benefits, fermented foods add variety in flavor and texture.


    We ended the day learning how to make some fermented foods including Sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, hummus, dosas, and kombucha. After an informative hands-on cooking session we gathered around to try our dishes as well as the diverse selection of fermented products Williams brought to share. To name a few, we made an arugula and fennel yogurt dip, hummus, and dosas, using some of the wild plants we picked earlier, and tried almost ten different kombuchas, water and milk kefir, jun, beet kvass, yogurt, sauerkraut and ginger brew of William’s. The group left the five hour workshop smiling with stomachs full and eyebrows raised.

“If I can make it, why not?” said Marc Williams.

Marc Williams has studied plants intensively for food, medicine, and beauty. His training includes; a bachelor’s degree concentrating in Sustainable Agriculture from Warren Wilson College, over a decade working at a multitude of restaurants, various farms, and the pursuit of botanical exploration throughout North/Central America and Western Europe. He is currently studying to get a master’s degree concentrating in Sustainable Development from Appalachian State University. (botanyeverday.com)

“If you come to one of my workshops, you’re gonna learn something.” said Williams.


Some handy highlights from the work shop:

Fresh Mint     Tea

    • Mint,      the biggest spice family provides basil, thyme, oregano, Marjoram,     and of course mints. Warren Wilson’s usual suspects: Spearmint,     winter mint, mountain mint, bee balm, Heal all and lemon balm, all     easily recognized by their square stems and symmetrically opposing     leaves and can be mixed into water on the way to class to make a     delicious bourgeois drink.    

    • There are tons of wild green onions on campus, that can be safely identified by their distinct onion smell; Onions make a lot of food taste better.

    • Dorm-made     Yogurt

Heat     up a half a gallon milk to at least 115 degrees F, add two spoonfuls     of store bought yogurt, and wrap it up in a sleeping bag or cuddle     with it for eight hours and BAM. To make Greek yogurt: place any yogurt in a strainer or colander, atop of a bowl in the fridge, until enough liquid has drained and a desired consistency is reached.

    • Sauerkraut/ Kimchee: Just combine three tablespoons of salt with about five     pounds of sliced vegetables, pressed tightly in a glass or ceramic     container. Make sure water rises above the vegetables within a     couple days, or add a cup of water and a tablespoon of salt. Let sit     for 10 days.



A Should Be Known Unknown

By Jake E Fraser

Mel Seifert: 74 year old father of four, Ivy league school graduate,  professor and academic administrator for 29 years, now a Warren Wilson full-time Volunteer on landscaping.

“We could not get by without everything that Mel does,” The Warren Wilson Landscaping Crew homepage reads.


Mel Seifert, who volunteers every day with the crew, received an undergraduate degree at Iowa State college, followed by a master’s degree in Fishery from Cornell University; Mel continued his academic ventures for nearly 29 years, teaching everything from Marine biology to Organic Chemistry and eventually headed all the sciences at Sheldon Jackson College, in Sitka Alaska.


“I taught 25 different courses, most with ‘ology’ at the end.” Seifert said.
Contrastingly, Seifert now works as a full-time volunteer on the landscaping crew at Warren Wilson.


Seifert is responsible for much of Wilson’s beautification, accomplishing a host of needed tasks on campus. Five days a week, at 7:15 a.m., half an hour before the crew finds their way to the Landscaping shed, Seifert arrives. He starts the coffee, and puts out a bucket of ice for the rest of the crew, all before starting his voluntary and unpaid 8-hour shift.


“It might seem trivial,” Seifert said “But, the satisfaction or sense of accomplishment gained from sweeping an area free of garbage and leaves, or plowing a field and looking back at the big black fluffy furrows of dirt, once grey and flat, can somehow be greater than teaching—especially as an administrative faculty member.”


Despite his different roles at  Sheldon Jackson and Warren Wilson, both colleges do share a great number of similarities: both are located in a temperate rainforest, both were founded by Presbyterian churches, both started as an all boys school, then developed into high schools, then junior colleges until they eventually became four-year universities.


The science program at Sheldon Jackson had salt-water pumps circulating salt water from the pacific throughout tanks on campus. After working at a research facility developing techniques for mass fish production, Seifert proved prosperous at Sheldon-Jackson.


“I had a fishy Thumb, I seemed to know what I was doing,” Seifert said. He received the “Best Teacher Award” four times in Alaska. 74 year old Seifert, now retired, lives off of old school farm road number two, with his wife Jane, humbly spending his time bustling around quietly, making our campus beautiful.