Fermentation is just as much art as science, and for Faith Anacker, it’s the perfect blend to allow her creativity to intersect with the fruitful harvests of Wisconsin’s driftless region.
Fizzeology Foods is the craft fermentation business that she operates out of Viroqua’s Food Enterprise Center, but Anacker (aka “Dr. Fizz”) is frequently out and about. Her passion for fermented foods leads her all over our region as she looks for opportunities to educate consumers on the techniques and benefits of fermentation. Anacker has offered a series of classes with UW-Richland Center Extension that she hopes to reestablish, and most recently she appeared at Fermentation Fest in Reedsburg, Wisconsin.
Anacker advises folks to “Go Fermental!” She reminds us that fermented foods are found in all cultures around the world and are a true representation of ancient wisdom. If you need a good Fermentation 101, Anacker can tell that story faster than you can track down the dozens of books on the subject.
First of all, we’re not just talking sauerkraut. Fizzeology utilizes a wide variety of wholesome, raw, organically-grown vegetables, including some wild-harvested hidden treasures such as burdock root. She enjoys integrating wild foods because it makes her ferments unique both in flavor and nutritional content.
The most important feature of the ferments, though, is the probiotics. You may have heard this term thrown around by yogurt companies, but getting the live, active probiotics along with the nutrient-rich raw vegetables is turning diet science on its head. The human digestive system thrives with proper balance of “good” bacteria cultures, and this is what drives Anacker’s passion. She believes in the importance of this organic, raw, fermented food as a regular part of the diet, and is proud to produce and distribute it to our region’s best stores.
You can find Fizzeology ferments as far west as Rochester, north to Eau Claire and Wausau, east to Green Bay, and south to Dubuque. Varieties sometimes vary seasonally, but some standbys include Kickapoo Kimchi (which includes burdock), Naked (just local cabbage and salt), German (traditionally-seasoned kraut), and Kickapoo Cordito (Latin-style kraut).
Seasonal ferments have included local wild-harvested ingredients such as cattails, wild parsnip, purslane, and milkweed bud. Other local veggies that make their way into Anacker’s concoctions are as varied as rutabaga, sun-choke, zucchini, radish, beets, ginger, carrots, and even apples. She has worked with a variety of farmers, including Harmony Valley as well as some CSAs and Amish farms.
This will be Fizzeology’s first time exhibiting at the Feast! Local Foods Marketplace, and festival-goers will love discovering samples of these healthful regional treats. Anacker is eager to meet new consumers and share the ancient wisdom of probiotics and her regional business values. She’s a proponent of sustainable economic business models and believes there is a place for everyone in the working community, no matter their ability or skill level.
Anacker says, “We’ve tried to grow slowly to establish our priorities and are happy to say we’re working to reduce food waste and provide jobs to disabled people in addition to achieving our organic certification next year.”
Fizzeology currently has two employees and is in the process of hiring two more that will specialize in marketing. Anacker is also currently in talks to produce a special ferment for a private label. Fizzeology products are distributed by Fifth Season Cooperative, so they are available to institutional buyers in addition to retail stores.
To meet Dr. Fizz and sample her ferments, catch her at Feast! on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, Minn., from 10 am to 4 pm. The day will be well spent, with over 100 different food businesses exhibiting in addition to chef demos, workshops, kids activities, and a Real Food Media film fest. For more about Fizzeology, visit fizzeology.com.