August thru October are exceptionally busy at the farm. While the staff battles the weather in planting and harvesting produce, others have to work on "putting up" the bounty. In the kitchen, produce is frozen, canned, and fermented.
Lacto-fermentation is one of the oldest forms of preservation. It is really quite simple: salt and lactic acid--created naturally by bacteria-- preserve the food for the winter months. Sauerkraut is the best known example of this. This week, pickles are a demonstration of another product.
The pickles are harvested, pricked with a fork, and loaded into a barrel with a salt water brine. Grape leaves are placed on top for natural tannins to help keep the pickle firm. The drums are sat at room temperature until they are ripe, which varies based on environmental conditions and size of the batch.
The finished pickles are packaged in jars and refrigerated. Refrigeration slows the ripening process.
It is perfectly natural for fermented pickles to have some pressure on the lid and for the brine to be cloudy. They should remain refrigerated.