Kinfolk Magazine, a quarterly Portland-based publication, knows a thing or two about DIY. Since its beginnings in 2011, the magazine has strived to stimulate creativity and creation through recipes, crafts, projects and stories. Kinfolk doesn’t just stop at the printed word, either—they’ve recently begun hosting community gatherings for various cities all over the world, all working to create something at the same time.
Recently, Kinfolk’s community gatherings have reached Santa Barbara, hosting get-togethers such as Campfire Cooking and Honey Harvest under the name Fruitful Collaborations. The latest workshop, titled Preserving the Season, brought a DIY group together in the hills of Mission Canyon for a workshop in crafting Moroccan Lemon Preserves, with chef and modern-day Julia Child Julia Crookston of Goodland Kitchen—who worked with the famed Alice Waters and met Kinfolk coordinators Amy and Kristen at the Campfire Cooking workshop—at the helm.
The day started with a meet-and-greet, where us soon-to-be-seasoned preservers met over cheese and ice tea to discuss what was ahead of us. After gathering around a long table in the backyard topped with crates of lemons, cardamom pods, chilies and the largest bowl of rock salt I’d ever laid eyes on (make that two of the largest, one at each end of the table), Crookston offered us a lesson on good bacteria, fermentation, the delicate yet universal nature of lemons, and the marvels of Goodland Kitchen’s process (they produce 40 pounds of preserved lemons a month!). Instructions were dictated, and everyone gathered around their jars, ready to make some preserved magic happen.
Three lemons, more salt than I thought I’d ever use (essential for this), some cardamom pods, chilies and a few squishes later, we tightened the lids on our Moroccan preserved lemons. As we all went through the process, we asked our neighbors about their preserves, learning that no two preserves are alike, sharing our knifes and our opinions on the saltiness of this jar and the citrus level of that one. After sealing with a bow and an artful paper topper, we had worked up an appetite. (continued below)
Up the stairs of the gorgeous BoMo (Bohemian Modern) home, we found ourselves greeted with an artfully decorated table awaiting our presence at lunch. Lemon decorations, moss-coated candle sticks, and sparkling fruit juices beckoned us in. Crookston wasn’t done amazing us with the magic of preserved lemons, as she created an extensive Mediterranean-inspired spread for us to dine on: salad with an exquisite lemon vinaigrette, pita bread and minted yogurt sauce, rice and lentils with just a hint of the lemon breathing through, the most delicious ratatouille-style roasted vegetables, and roasted lemon chicken. For dessert was a trifle-like vanilla sponge cake layered with crème fraîche and tantalizing strawberry jam (we may have licked our mason jars clean).
The concoctions we made, the food we tasted and the people we met are what make Kinfolk Community Gatherings such a welcome part of Santa Barbara culture. Mother-and-daughter teams traveled from San Diego while couples drove up from LA just to join in on this event—and we certainly don’t blame them.
Upcoming events (usually one per month) include Gathering at the Kinfolk Table, which will host a dinner made from Kinfolk’s new cookbook and a swap of family recipes amongst attendees on Oct. 27, and a Home Decor workshop on making wreaths with floral designer Victoria Wanberg on Dec. 14. Tickets are available here close to the events.
These gatherings shed a new light on workmanship, living with nature, and the collaborative joy that comes from working with your community towards an end goal, and we hope to see more of these events popping up soon! For more information on Fruitful Collaborations, please click here.
Thank you to Natalie Thomson photography for the photos!
—Taylor Micaela Davis