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Pickle Academy: Ferments

Learn fun and delightfully simple fermentation methods from Ica Crawford, food consultant, botanist, and Executive Director of GroNola, a New Orleans based food production network focused on growing and connecting fresh urban and regional farm production, traditional methods of fermentation and preserving, and savoring the  season at the dinner table.

On October 26 from 3-5 p.m. the Rouses Culinary Innovation Center at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum presents Pickle Academy: Ferments. This 2-hour class will provide an introduction to healthful and approachable ferments that can easily be made at home. These probiotic preparations provide tremendous health benefits, are simple and easy to produce from locally available ingredients, and are a delicious addition to the dinner table.

  • Learn about making Raw Vinegar from fermented fruit in your own kitchen
  • Discover Cultured Vegetables such as sauerkraut, kimchi and cultured pickles

We will taste homemade samples and discuss the history, nutritive value and process for each traditionally fermented food. Each student will get hands-on making their own personal batch of kimchi, customizing their jar with different spices to take home and ferment. They will also receive a packet of detailed workshop notes and recipes to continue to ferment at home for fun and pleasure.

The program begins at 3:00 PM in the Rouses Culinary Innovation Center by Jenn-Air. The cost of the class is $45 per person,  $40 for SoFAB members. You will go home with your own kimchi!

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Savory Sunday Sundries

Putting on the game? Feeding your fam? Who wanted all that grill? What now?

Come to this free demonstration for loving tips on making simple and delicious food to meet the demands of the game or any other Sunday afternoon. Ica will walk us though a basic savory platter featuring our own Tomato Jam, and serving suggestions for other savory offerings that will only make the game day festivities more and more delicious.

Join Ica and GroNola at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum this Saturday at 1pm. The demonstration is free with museum admission, and lasts for about an hour. See below for a link to more information on the Museum website. Hope to see you there!

More Information…

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Ica Awarded McIlhenny Foundation Grant

Ica Crawford was awarded the 2019 Paul McIlhenny Culinary Entrepreneurism Scholarship this summer, and has continued her residence at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum (SOFAB) into the fall and continuing into the summer of 2020. Ms. Crawford has already hosted several demonstrations at the museum, and is producing preserved goods to capture the flavor of each season in the museum on a weekly basis.

She, and GroNola, have also begun offering a bi-weekly Member share every Wednesday at the SOFAB, and are preparing to offer the new Pop-up Pantry coming soon as a pop-up storefront featuring locally produced seasonal preserved goods, fresh farm produce from urban and regional farmers, fresh bread and other local goods that we all look for when we stock our home pantry. Watch for the chance to confirm a Member Share, and come say hello on the next Wednesday share distribution!

See below for the formal press release:

The National Food & Beverage Foundation Names Ica Crawford as 2019 Scholarship Recipient
New Orleans, LA — The National Food & Beverage Foundation (NatFAB) recently selected Ica Crawford to be the third recipient of the Paul McIlhenny Culinary Entrepreneurism Scholarship. Among the advantages and opportunities afforded by the scholarship, Ms. Crawford will have use of the Rouse’s Culinary Innovation Center by Jennair at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum (SoFAB) in New Orleans free of charge for one year. NatFAB/SoFAB staff will also assist her in furthering her culinary career and making the business and interpersonal connections she needs to grow professionally.

“Ica is a passionate and talented culinarian. She is also disciplined in horticulture, hydroponics, and aquaculture,” said Jyl Benson, SoFAB Culinary Programming Director. “With her skills, professionalism and boundless creativity, she is the ideal recipient of this scholarship. Assisting culinary entrepreneurs in turning their career dreams into realities is central to what we do.”

As the scholarship recipient Crawford replaces Chef Serigne Mbaye, the second McIlhenny Scholarship recipient, who is currently working to open a restaurant with celebrated international Chef Pierre Thiam in Dakar, Senegal. Both Mbaye and Dwynisha “Dee” Lavigne, the 2017 scholarship recipient, will serve as mentors to Crawford. Lavigne continues to work in baking and pastry arts within the museum’s culinary entrepreneurship program. 

The McIlhenny Entrepreneurship program is one of the great things we do at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum,” continues Benson. “Creating opportunities for eager, food-centric professionals is not just a way to impact our community and celebrate local food, but a way for us to ensure that New Orleans continues to be one of the great culinary cities in the world.”

Crawford, 40, is a native of Meridian, Mississippi and the founder of GroNola, an area-wide endeavor that works with farmers to get their products to market via a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program; and the on-site Botanist for Our Garden, a community farm in New Orleans’ Carrollton neighborhood. While studying Culinary Arts at Delgado Community College Crawford apprenticed under Chefs Emeril Lagasse, John Besh, and Eric Vieny of Muriel’s. Upon graduation she entered the school’s Horticultural Sciences program. “I realized that the story of a dish did not begin and end in a kitchen, but with the local produce varieties and the farmers that produced them,” Crawford said. “Oleculture (the cultivation of edible plants) became my goal –   to find the heirloom varieties, the sweetest beet, the spiciest mustard green, and to cultivate these plants so that chefs would be inspired.”

She then attended the University of New Orleans to study biological sciences. After graduating, she became the Director of Horticultural Process for a hydroponic/aquaponic facility. She created GroNola so a community or member block could leverage their unity to purchase heirloom produce at a lower cost. She creates value-added products such as kimchee, jams, jellies, pickles, sauces, dried, or mixed products for distribution with CSA Shares. She has also created a catering division offering high quality, low volume custom meals with local ingredients.

The Paul McIlhenny Culinary Scholarship is endowed by a by a grant from the family of Paul McIlhenny, the late President & CEO of McIlhenny Company, the iconic Louisiana brand that makes Tabasco brand pepper sauces, condiments and products. “My father was passionate about food and his preferred stage was the kitchen, where his leadership skills could really shine,” said Rosemary McIlhenny. “It is a fine tribute to my father, one he would be proud of, to help Ms. Crawford in advancing her culinary career through our partnership with the National Food & Beverage Foundation.”

Throughout the next year Ms. Crawford will be conducting frequent open-to-the-public classes at SoFAB, the first of which, Pickle Academy, an ongoing series, launched in June with instruction on preserving the bounty of the summer garden. Pickle Academy 2.0 is scheduled for August 3, 2019 at 3:30PM. Visit for information on upcoming events with Ms. Crawford.

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Using the best to present the best

Join us for a free demonstration of using the current seasonal produce and preserved items from previous seasons and how to mix them all together and make a beautiful and tasty part platter.

We love you, and we love our seasonal food that we are blessed with all year long. And we want to make the tastiest and prettiest presentations to bring our love for our seasons to all our people, friends and family.

Join us on Saturday to take a look at what we are growing and eating, and take some of it with you for your own holiday entertaining in the upcoming season.

See more details here

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Pickle Academy: Pickling 2.0

GroNola and the Southern Food and Beverage Museum present the second in our series on pickling, including techniques, food safety and flavor profiles. If you missed the Pickling 101 session please do not fret, as there will be another one soon, but for now let’s talk flavors and presentation.

This from the SOFAB website:

Ica will teach you about flavor profiles, and you will be able to taste some of her pickled mushrooms and poached figs. Additionally, she will discuss the intricacies of working with different types of vinegars, like white wine and apple cider. You will learn how to utilize fresh herbs in the pickling process, and how to make your pickles look more attractive.

This session builds on the basic knowledge of home-canning and will talk about flavor profiles from spices to vinegar to herbs, and requires zero knowledge of home-canning in order to learn and participate. All participants will leave with a jar of pickles for themselves.

The class is a friendly atmosphere that encourages but does not require participation, and there is plenty of opportunities to ask questions as the class progresses. Registration is required, although you may register at the door if the class is not full.

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[Updated] Pickle Academy: Pickling 101

Ms. Ica will be presenting a pickling demonstration at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum on June 29th! This from the SOFAB website, where one can also register to attend the course:

On June 29 from 3-5 p.m. the Rouses Culinary Innovation Center at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum welcomes Ica Crawford of Grow NOLA as she launches Pickle Academy. In this class, Ms. Crawford will break down the art and science of food preservation, teaching participants how to use pickling and preserving techniques to savor the best of the season. You will learn how to follow your nose to create fantastic flavor combinations, experiment with recipes without compromising food safety, and bring pickles and preserves “beyond the jar” by using them in different dishes. You will also learn the basic steps for home canning, which you can use to preserve pickles, jams, and other high-acid foods for shelf storage (handy in case of a natural disaster or a Zombie attack, whichever comes first). How does a cucumber become a pickle? What’s the difference between quick pickling, canning & fermenting? Which preserves can be safely canned for shelf storage, and which are best for refrigeration? Can you really pickle anything? Ponder these pickling puzzles no more.

Pickling and preserving is just one more way to extend the season, and a delicious one at that.

Register for the class and save your seat from the Museum’s event listing by clicking this finely crafted link.


We thank the many people who came to the Pickle Academy event. By our own perception, and by the immediate responses, we believe it was a fun and informative event and that it was appreciated as well. We are so grateful for the attendance.

Ica led the attendees, and directed the participation of many in preparing and processing pint jars of Dill Slices, and the start of a bonus demonstration in Pickled Corn Relish. Every attendee left with a new jar of cucumber pickles for their participation, and fresh instruction and examples of the basic equipment and techniques of turning a basket of fresh cucumbers, onions, herbs and spices into a beautiful pint of Dill Slices.

If you attended the event we would love to hear some feedback, or if you have any great photos to share please feel free to post them in the comment section. Happy Pickling!

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GroNola on Fox News!

Ms. Ica was on live television this morning with a quick demonstration of pickling on Fox 8 morning show. She appeared with Brent Rosen, the mostly new leader of the Southern Food and Beverage museum promoting the upcoming Pickle Academy: Pickling 101 event coming up this weekend. You may see the broadcasted video segment on Fox 8’s own site here.

The demonstration kitchen is kind of neat, it is in a the corner of a large studio room across opposite a green screen setup– here are a couple of pics taken during the setup before she went on the air. On display was a basket of fresh veggies and fruit from the current season, various pickles found in our store on this site, the ingredients for a jar of cucumber pickles, and the spices used to make our basic pickling spice: coriander, yellow mustard seed, black pepper and allspice. You can also see the dill fronds and drying dill seeds on the counter– this year we used dill and coriander from the garden as it was available.

Pickle Academy is a demonstration of pickling basics, and depending on attendance, perhaps even a participatory demonstration– although you’ll leave with your own freshly processed pint of cucumber dill pickles. Seats are limited and you must reserve you seat which you may do by following this link to the event page hosted by SOFAB. Hope to see you there!

Available Pickles

Don’t have time to attend, or not into doing it yourself? Order any of these pickles today, and pick them up Saturday afternoon before or after the demonstration at SOFAB.