When I started selling milk kefir it was with raw goats and cows milk that I would buy from local farmers. The local council supported this, as long as I stayed artisan.  But then food laws changed and tightened and we were no longer allowed to do that. Milk kefir is a powerhouse SCOBY that can actually make raw milk safe. I think if there was one SCOBY I'd recommend for people starting out on their fermentation journey, or looking for something to heal their gut, build their microbiome, and start to balance things out in general - it's Milk kefir. 

Milk kefir can culture your milk in so many ways that David Asher wrote a book on it - The Art of Natural Cheesemaking. Soft, hard, blues and all - this book has all of the explorations, and whilst David relies mostly on raw milk, the act of adding milk kefir to pasteurised milk in effect - re-wilds the milk. His book shows you how. 

We met David Asher through our mutual love of Milk kefir; when I was at the residency with Sandor Katz in his home in Tennessee we had recently recieved an award for our milk kefir; 'Best New Product'. It was our favourite ferment and Davids too - so he hooked us up. 

David's first trip to teach was in 2016,  hosted by Milkwood Permaculture in Sydney who allowed us to take over the Melbourne workshops. These were held at CERES over a weekend and it was our first time to host another person rather than be the only ones teaching.  We were honoured. Roger made a gorgeous lunch and we put everyone to sleep with wines to match. 

The next time he came we decided to do two workshops - one in Melbourne in our home kitchen and the other at Natasha Morgans out in Spargo Creek near The Fermentary. We met some fabulous people there - there was Natasha's garden and a fireside drinks at the end. Getting hold of raw milk for this was A LOT easier than the schlep I had had to do to get all of that milk back to Melbourne for the workshops there - having the workshops in our home in Fitzroy North was lovely though. 

Last time, in 2019 David and Katherine came back with a baby in tow. We held a WEEK long course at another wonderful location close to The Ferm - at Daylesford Longhouse with Ronnen Goren, who had attended at Natasha's 2 years earlier. It was hot - but they had cows to milk right there and a group of people who also intended to make cheese from their own animals. The Longhouse is a unique location and we celebrated mid way through the course with a dinner. Brigitte Hefner (from Tedesca on the Mornington Peninsula) and our own Roger Fowler along with Ronnen, cooked a gorgeous dinner that featured salumi Ronnen had cultured himself.  Melissa Mills from Sake Connect joined us with a Sake and Cheese pairing, and cookbook author extraordinaire Tessa Kiros all the way from Italy joined us in the midst of her book tour. The week was made even better by our friend Emma Jimson of Pom_me_granate - who spent hours each day helping our guests make their own wonderful ceramic cheese forms to take home. 

Now here we are, 2020, and due to travel restrictions not just in Vic but around the world - we are hosting David online. You can order milk kefir grains and the cheese forms from our website, as well as rennet and other accoutrements you might need. We'll be there as usual. Probably with wine. 

Link in the Events section. 



Written by Sharon Flynn

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