Mead was believed by the ancients to be the drink of the gods. The School of the New American Farmstead at Sterling College is offering the course “Wild Mead: Traditional Fermented Honey Beverages” for those interested in making their own god-like honey-based drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
This five-day course, held June 5–9, 2017, will have both homestead mazers and aspiring beverage entrepreneurs learning how to make honey-based beverages using local, raw, unfiltered honey and ingredients harvested from the wild or their own gardens. The hands-on class will also feature a woodland walk to gather wild edibles, explorations of the history and mythology behind mead, and even Viking-era games and experiments with the culinary uses of mead.
Instructor Jereme Zimmerman says, “Because honey is so ubiquitous, and so easy to ferment, lots of ancient cultures made mead with it. Vikings used their mead for mystical and spiritual purposes, as well as for enjoyment to pass the time during long, cold winters. But no matter who makes it, in what period, in the end, it’s simply fermented honey-water.”
Zimmerman, the author of Make Mead Like a Viking (Chelsea Green, 2015), has revived ancient methods of making mead from his homestead in Berea, KY. He writes and speaks regularly on fermentation, modern homesteading, and good eating. He is a frequent contributor to various publications and websites, including New Pioneer, Backwoods Home, Hobby Farms, and Earthineer.com (as “RedHeadedYeti”). He collaborates regularly with other homesteading, permaculture, sustainable living, and local food advocates in Berea and beyond to sustain a vibrant, healthy community.
Online registration is now open, but spaces are limited. Students are encouraged to apply as early as possible. Academic credit is available for all courses. For more information this course and to register, visit www.sterlingcollege.edu/mead.
Students who wish to explore honey from hive to flask can take both the “Pollinators, Beekeeping, and Products from the Hive” course and “Wild Mead” are eligible for a 10% discount. The combined courses will allow students to take ten days to explore honey from its beginning in small-scale backyard organic beekeeping, including: location and equipment requirements, basic honey bee biology, presence and mindfulness in the bee yard, and non-toxic pest and disease control; to the full range of mead and other wild honey beverages available to the modern mazer. To learn more about this offer and to register, visit www.sterlingcollege.edu/apiculture.
These classes are being offered at Sterling College as part of the School of the New American Farmstead, its continuing education program that provides a variety of classes and workshops for aspiring agrarians, artisan food enthusiasts, and environmental stewards. These hands-on short courses in small-scale food production and sustainable farming offer one-on-one mentorship, inspiration, skills, and new perspectives that will feed the body, the mind, and the spirit.
This is the second year of the visionary School of the New American Farmstead, the creation of President Matthew Derr. Under President Derr’s leadership, the College has launched the Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems; made substantial progress on renewable energy; transformed its agricultural facilities; and set records for enrollment and fundraising.
The School of the New American Farmstead at Sterling College is generously underwritten by two great Vermont businesses: Chelsea Green Publishing, the preeminent publisher of books on the politics and practice of sustainable living, and Vermont Creamery, an award winning creamery offering fresh and aged goat cheeses, cultured butter, and créme fraîche that combine the European tradition of cheesemaking with Vermont’s terroir. Both Chelsea Green and Vermont Creamery are partner businesses that share a deep commitment to the environmental stewardship mission of Sterling College.