– Maine Culture –
From its galleries and restaurants to its music and farms, Maine is flourishing culturally. And while it’s easy to mistake Portland – Maine’s largest city – for a strictly foodie town, its food, like its tourism, is tied to all other aspects of a healthy community. Award-winning restaurants and shops showcase local musicians, artists, and brewers just as they do local farmers’ and producers’ wares, and tourism grows where creativity flows. It all starts with a community of locally-minded folks supporting the local economy.
– UFF Culture –
Founded in March 2010 by entrepeneur and Mainer Eli Cayer, the Urban Farm Fermentory (or UFF) is an experimental fermentation center. We source as many local ingredients as possible to explore the flavors and preserve Maine’s unique terroir. Our array of fresh pressed Maine apple cider is spontaneously (or wild) fermented in a Farmhouse style until it’s bone dry & tart. “Spontaneous fermentation” utilizes naturally-occurring yeast in the air and on the fruit, which means even the yeast culture in our cider is local. Our mead, made with raw Maine honey, has a similarly unique flavor: drier and crisper than many versions. And our potent, probiotic Kombucha (fermented tea), with its 1.5% ABV and tart, acidic bite, is one of the few true examples of the form left after the infamous kombucha crackdown of 2011. For more information on our assorted products, please visit the PRODUCTS page, which is currently under development.
– Community Culture –
Like Portland, the UFF is a cultural hub. Our goals include community engagement and education. We’ve offered workshops on producing our core beverages in addition to a rotating assortment of lacto-fermented foods (think sauerkraut or kimchi), mushrooms, and more. Local enthusiasts or professionals run many of our workshops and we hope to resume these classes in the near future. We collaborate with local orchardists in our quest for classic or unusual flavors. We’ve had a mushroom grower practicing his craft in one of our production rooms before. A couple of beehives are tended by an amateur beekeeper. In the reclaimed garden space behind our single-story warehouse facility, we hosted an aquaponics operation, where tilapia fish were farmed and their nutrient-rich run-off water was used to grow basil.
Most recently, we’ve leased the Bay 1 garage space of our complex and are creating a Food Hub filled with local artisans, from bakers to popsicle-makers, who will create and educate, further spreading culture in every sense of the word. The UFF was the first brewery/winery to set up shop in Portland’s East Bayside industrial area, which is fast becoming the city’s second recognized brewery cluster under the moniker “yEast Bayside” (including Rising Tide Brewing, Bunker Brewing, Tandem Coffee Roasters, and Maine Craft Distilling). Rather than providing cutthroat competition, brewery clusters in Portland lend themselves to camaraderie and collaboration, with knowledge and even equipment being shared. We like to think we’ve had a hand in encouraging growth in this otherwise under-appreciated neighborhood, and we’re delighted to foster fellowship with our neighbors and create new opportunities for Portland.