Spiral Living Center

Our Virtual Fermentation Festival which originally aired online in 2021 via our Earth Scouts! Program, is now available for viewing at ANY TIME! This 10 episode Virtual Fermentation Series features local Illinois Valley & Southern Oregon mentors sharing their knowledge on all things fermentation. Learn how to make your own probiotic drinks, kimchi, pickles, miso, wine, sourdough, cheese, soil amendments, and more! All videos are available for purchasing and viewing right here on the Spiral Living Center website. Each pre-recorded video comes with an educational PDF for at-home learning. Watch at your own pace with your family and follow along in your own kitchen or garden. To get a free taste of our series, enjoy our “teaser” video below: Fermentation for the Mind, Body, and Soul with Jerry Allen.

The 10 episode series is available at $5 per video or $45 for the entire series!.
Scroll down below to learn more about each episode, enjoy!



Ready for a taste of our series? in our teaser clip → Fermentation for the Mind, Body, & Soul, Jerry Allen from Thistledown Orchards explains why fermentation is good for your overall health. Jerry joins us in our first episode, “Introduction to Fermentation”…

Fermentation for the Mind, Body & Soul • Jerry Allen

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Episode 1: Introduction to Fermentation

In our first episode, Jerry shares with us the history, benefits, and basics of the ever expansive process that is fermentation and a brief overview of the human microbiome. Jerry has taught at many of our previous in-person Fermentation Festivals and most will remember and love his teaching style. As a trauma therapist, Jerry has done a lot of work on helping people settle their nervous systems. Fermentation is one of many ways to settle our bodies from the stressors of modern life. It helps settle our gut and promotes gut health by sending messages up to our vagus nerve telling us that “all is well.” Jerry reminds us that, “this combination of mind, body, and spirit working together in harmony is human health at its best! “

Along with his wife Lisa Waltenspiel, Jerry owns Thistledown Orchards, a small ten-acre farm in the Illinois Valley near Selma, Oregon. Their farm began in 2015 with the purchase of the property and their first orchard planting. Their mission is to develop a flourishing organic farm, nurture a sustainable microecology on the land, and create a spiritual refuge for all who visit. They offer heritage varieties of natural produce, crafting & homesteading tools, and resources for healthy living.

Episode 2: Miso with Midori Uehara

In our second episode, Takilma local Midori Uehara from Mido’s Miso, shows us how to make a simple soybean miso using her own homemade koji. Miso is a fermented bean paste and one of the oldest condiments in Japan. It originated in China and was brought to Japan around AC 700. Miso has a long history of aiding people’s health and it has become an essential daily food over many centuries in Japan. Miso is traditionally made with 3 simple ingredients: legumes, grains, and salt, and contains probiotics similarly found in many other fermented foods.

Midori moved to Oregon in 2016 from Japan, where she grew up eating miso soup every day for breakfast. She has a passion for teaching and a pursuit towards contributing to our local community’s health. She strongly believes in the interwoven relationship with food, nature, body, & soul. Currently, Midori is starting the first miso business in Southern Oregon, Mido’s Miso. Her products are small scale and handcrafted from scratch. She uses the highest quality non-toxic ingredients and tools, sourcing as locally and organically grown as possible. Mido’s Miso plans to offer several different types of aged miso and koji soon available for purchase locally around Southern Oregon and online. For more information and recipes visit www.midosmiso.com.


Episode 3: LAB with Shannon Long

In our third episode,  Earth Scouts! Coordinator Shannon Long shares with us all about LAB! LAB refers to a large group of bacteria that produce Lactobacillales a.k.a. lactic acid as a by-product of digesting their food source (usually carbohydrates). Lactic Acid then accumulates to ferment or “pickle” food. When done correctly, this process of acidification inhibits the growth of nonbeneficial bacteria that can cause food spoilage. LAB is present in the many types of fermented foods, drinks, and supplements that we cover in the Fermentation Festival, including our upcoming episodes on Raw Milk Kefir with Tesha and Winemaking with Debbie Lukas.

In your garden, LAB can be combined with other plant nutrient solutions and applied as a foliar spray to leaf surfaces of leaf/fruit crops. On the homestead, LAB culture can transform a malodorous, anaerobic livestock pen into an odorless system! It can also be given to most livestock species to consume through their feed and/or water as a probiotic to help foster healthy gut flora, enhance their immune systems, and aid in digestion. In this episode, Shannon shows us how to make a simple LAB culture using white rice and other tools available in most kitchens.


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Episode 4: Milk Kefir with Tesha Lynde

In our fourth episode, Tesha Lynde, takes us all the way back to 600 AD & dives into the fascinating history of milk kefir grains and the Caucasus mountain people who kept them a secret until the 1930’s! The milk kefir grain culture was harnessed somewhere in the Caucasus mountain range between Europe & Asia. The grains themselves are quite unusual in that no other cultured dairy product is known to come from grains. Though the precise origins of these grains have been shrouded in mystery, one thing has been made clear: milk kefir grains must be acquired. The specific polysaccharides, bacteria, and yeasts that makeup kefir grains have been handed down from generation to generation. You can however, multiply your milk kefir grains to pass the culture on to friends and family. Drinking kefir holds many health benefits such as: aiding digestion, controlling high cholesterol, stabilizing blood sugar, and decreasing lactose intolerance!

Tesha is a loving mother, skilled farmer, and passionate about fermentation. Besides the never-ending homesteading projects, Tesha is starting a canning company called “Just Because We Can”. She strives to create a self-sustaining permaculture farm to serve her community and teach her child the importance of self-reliance and health benefits from ancient traditional methods

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Episode 5: Medicinal Libations

In our fifth episode, Deb Lukas & Steve Orr showcase how to make a variety of fermented Medicinal Libations. Home wine-brewing can encompass so much more than just creating alcohol. Although that can be a joyful end point, by adding in herbs, fruits, and berries, complex elixirs can be created that include numerous health benefits. In this video, Deb and Steve demonstrate two different methods of extracting juice from Hawthorn berries and Chokecherries locally foraged from their farm. Hawthorn contains powerful antioxidants known to promote heart and cardiovascular health. Consuming small amounts of your own medicinal libations can help bring the body back into balance depending on the qualities and quantities of herbs added. Enjoy in good health! Cheers! Salud! Santé! Prost! Skål! Sláinte! Kanpai!

Deb and Steve are the co-tenders of Frog Farm, a hub of inspiration, permaculture in action, and the birthplace of Spiral Living Center which they co-founded in 2006. Located in Takilma OR, they are surrounded by frog songs & food forests interwoven with dozens of fruit trees, 100+ species of medicinal herbs, and families of goats, chickens, humans, dogs, & cats. Their goal is to provide our local community with more medicinal organic food lovingly raised through sustainable methods.


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Episode 6: Fermented Hot Sauces

In our sixth episode, Michael Franklin demonstrates how to make a variety of Fermented Hot Sauces using both raw and fire roasted jalapeno peppers. While most sauces are made by simply cooking or mixing onions, tomatoes, and peppers, fermenting your veggies beforehand kicks it up a notch! Especially when it comes to the benefits and flavor profiles of lacto-fermented foods that we’ve discussed in previous weeks. With sauces, Michael shows us that the sky is the limit by adding in seasonal apples, lemon peel, and MORE. Sauces can be enjoyed on almost any food dish, even labneh cheese, which he also shows us how to create using common household tools & ingredients. Be BOLD and SPICE up your meals with something new!

Michael Franklin loves vegetarian cooking and providing access to healthful, delicious foods with a range of cultural influences. Michael and his wife Angela currently offer non-medical end of life services such as education and advocacy for conscious living/dying, grief support, home funeral guides, home burials, advanced directives, and deathcare directive assistance through Crossroads Community DeathCare.


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Episode 7: Apple Cider Vinegar Tonics

In our 7th episode, Deb Lukas shows us how to make your very own Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) from scratch using her own apples! Kimberly Berns then demonstrates how to use your ACV to make Fire Cider, a warming tonic that can aid with colds, viruses, flu, and general health in the winter season. Besides being a delicious seasoning, Apple Cider Vinegar has been popular for cleansing detox diets, weight loss, controlling diabetes, lowering cholesterol, and many other health benefits. It can be used internally or topically for all manners of skin inflammation.

Deb is a Clinical Herbalist and Herbal Pharmacist with 30 years of experience. She founded her family business Siskiyou Mountain Herbs, and propagates and grows many medicinal plants on the Frog Farm in Takilma, OR. Debbie teaches herbalism classes emphasizing respect for the land, ethical harvesting techniques, and propagation of rare medicinal plants. Kimberly is a passionate local herbalist in the Illinois Valley who loves to share her knowledge with others. Along with other Hawthorn Institute graduates, Kimberly co-organizes Rogue Herbalism, a nonprofit in Southern Oregon which focuses on providing free wellness services and herbal medicine to those in need. They host a free pop-up clinic once a month at 116 Redwood Hwy. Cave Junction.


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Episode 8: Raw Milk Mozzarella

 In our 8th episode, Sheri Crespo shows us how to make Mozzarella Cheese using raw milk from her own goats! Sheri has joined us for many in-person Fermentation Festivals, but in this video we get a glimpse into her farm to table process of making cheese. The process of cheesemaking dates all the way back to ancient Rome and even documented on Egyptian tomb drawings. Its exact origins are debated like most fermentation processes, but likely linked to nomadic herdsman who traveled with mammals who produced milk. Essentially the goal of cheesemaking is to carefully control the spoiling of milk (cow, sheep, goat, buffalo, etc.) into cheese.

Sheri Crespo and her husband Mark have been homesteading in the Illinois Valley for the last 10 years. They currently manage a herd of 21 Nubian goats who graze in wild brambles and green pastures bordering the east fork of the Illinois River. Sheri uses her goats milk to create a variety of flavorful cheeses for her family to enjoy such as soft chevrè, mozzarella, feta, aged hard cheeses, and more. Along with dairy, Sheri, Mark, and their son Matthew organically grow, preserve, and eat almost all of their own fruits and vegetables at Eden’s Edge Farm using no chemicals or additives. They are truly blessed with a little slice of heaven!


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Episode 9: Probiotic Ginger Beer

 In our 9th episode, Christine Perala Gardiner shows us how to make Probiotic Ginger Beer to promote healthy gut flora and increase vitality in the coming winter months! Ginger beer is a naturally fizzy beverage with a sweet and spicy bite. Grated ginger is fermented in sugar water and citrus juice, allowing natural yeasts in the ginger to feed off the sugar and multiply, creating probiotics. Ginger Beer differs from Ginger Ale (soda) which is typically made with carbonated water, ginger flavoring, and processed white sugar, not undergoing the same fermentation process. The authentic method of making Ginger Beer uses a “Ginger Bug” or “Ginger Starter” that you can make at home. In this episode, Christine uses a jun SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria & yeast) as a suitable alternative to a Ginger Bug. Both methods have their own styles and flavors to explore.

Christine and her husband John Gardiner have been active community members contributing to food sovereignty in the Illinois Valley. As Environmental Scientists turned Farmers, for over 20 years they owned & operated Siskiyou Alpaca, a leader in sustainable livestock production in SW Oregon and NW California offering food, fiber, and medicine. They are passionate about improving the health of all people, our land, and planet.


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Episode 10: Brewing Beer

In our 10th and final episode of the Fall Virtual Fermentation Festival, Spiral Living Center Board President Tim Talty, explains how to make beer at home! Many will remember Tim’s delicious brews served at past SLC events and fundraisers! Beer is one of the oldest and most widely consumed alcoholic drinks in the world, and the third most popular drink overall after water & tea! Beer is consumed in nations and countries all over the world, and is a large part many different cultures from Japan to Germany. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of starches, and mainly derived from cereal grains such as malted wheat, barley, rye, sorghum, or spelt to name a few. Many brews also contain hops, which add bitterness, flavor, and are known to ease tension or anxiety. While there are countless varieties of beer on the market today, Tim shows us simple tools and techniques that can get you started on the brewing journey in your own kitchen.

Tim Talty has lived and worked in the Illinois Valley for over two decades. He spent 22 years as an educator at Lorna Byrne Middle School, retiring in 2019. He is currently pursuing his next dream of opening a local brewery in Takilma and a historic themed pub in Kerby, OR. Tim is passionate about alternative energy and plans on utilizing solar energy and bio-fuels in the production of his brews. He hopes to open up for business in the old “Odd Fellows Lodge” in Kerby this coming summer 2022. Stay tuned!


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