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Class Descriptions

Urban Farm Kitchen
listed by topic

GREEN means GO These classes Are open for registration
RED means STOP, THIS CLASS IS FULL contact us to get on the waiting list
, please check back later.

Pre-registration is required and exact location is given once you have registered.


Many classes will repeat if there is enough interest. If a class is past or you do not get in on time,
please contact us and we will let you know if another session is forming.
Classes are for age 12 and up unless otherwise indicated.

Cheese Making: Dairy & Nut
Preservation & Fermentation
Other Amazing Kitchen Skills

Cheese Making: Dairy & Nut

Cheese Making 101: Yogurt, Fresh Cheeses & Feta

Saturday July 12, 2014 10am-1pm CLASS FULL

Saturday September 14, 2014 10am-1pm

Instructor: K.Ruby Blume
Location: North Oakland
Cost: $40-70 sliding scale plus $12 supply fee to bring on the day of class
This class will introduce you to concepts and techniques of milk transformation and preservation. We will learn about equipment, ingredients and cultures used and get hands-on practice making yogurt, a fresh cheese and a feta cheese. We talk about the hard cheese process, uses for whey and the history of cheese making. We will be working with cow's milk, however all processes will work with other fresh (not ultra-pasteurized) milks. If you have access to fresh (not ultra-pasteurized or homoginzed) goat or sheep milk, please let us know!

Cheese Making 102: Brie, Butter & Blue
Sunday August 10 1pm-4pm
Saturday October 4, 1pm-4pm

Instructor: K.Ruby Blume
Location: North Oakland
Cost: $40-70
sliding scale
Pre-requisite: Cheese Making 101
Glory Hallelujah cheese lovers! Mold-ripened cheeses are relatively forgiving and suited to home-cheese making! In this class we will learn about mold ripened cheeses including camembert, brie, blue, gorgonzola and cambezola. We will cover ingredients and special equipment, ripening techniques and more. Amaze your friends and family by making brie just like from the store! In this class we will also learn more about cultures and learn to make cultured butter.

Cheese Making: Mozzarella & Burrata
Saturday April 12, 10:30am-1pm
Wednesday September 17, 2014 6:30-9pm

Instructor: K.Ruby Blume
Location: North Oakland
sliding scale plus $10 supply fee to bring on the day of class
In this class we'll learn about this much beloved cheese, it's histpry and uses. then we'll learn about traditional and modern methods of preparation and will make up a batch to eat right away in class! As a binus we'll learn to make buratta. Cheesemaking 101 is highly recommended as a pre-requisite but not required.

Cheese Making Intensive
Saturday November 15, noon-6pm and Sunday November 16 10am-2pm 2014

Instructor: K.Ruby Blume
Location: North Oakland
Cost:$160 -220
sliding scale includes supplies
This two-day intensive course will cover everything you need to get started making simple cheeses that are easily created in a home environment. We will learn about cultures, equipment, ingredients and cheesemaking concepts and will work with both cow & goat milk to complete a number of cheesemaking projects including: Yogurt, Yogurt Cheese, Feta, Ricotta, Brie, Buttermilk, Sour Cream, Chevre, Mozarella and Cultured Butter. We will also learn about the hard cheese process. You will receive hand-outs outlining the major concepts, recipes and resources to help you along once you try your hand at home. Each day will culminate in a community feast in which we share food, sample the cheeses and enjoy the friends we have made working together through the weekend. This course is the equivalent of Cheesemaking 101, 102 & 103 together.

Everyday Nut Milks and Cheeses
Saturday May 17, 2014 10AM-12:30PM
Wednesday July 30, 2014 6:30-9pm
Saturday October 11, 2014 10:30am -1pm

Instructor: K.Ruby Blume
Location: North Oakland

Cost: $40-70
sliding scale plus $10 supply fee to bring on day of class
Learn to make your own nut milks and cheeses! Nuts milks & cheeses are delicious, nutritious and are the perfect alternative for those wishing to avoid gluten, dairy and soy. Unlike what you buy in the store, these milks and cheeses are also free of preservatives, stabilizers, artificial ingredients or additives of any kind. And, they are totally fun to make! In this class we will learn to prepare non-dairy, raw nut milks, creams, yogurts and cheeses. We'll learn about options for culturing nut based cheeses, including how to make your own rejuvelac and we'll be making an amazing feast to share using our deliscious creations. Your will leave with a recipe packet and resource list.


Home Butchering: Fowl
Sunday July 13, 2014 11am-3pm
Sunday September 21, 2014 11am-3pm

Teacher: Jim Montgomery & K.Ruby Blume
Location: Berkeley
Cost: $75 -105
sliding scale includes supplies
As people who are used to getting our meat in the freezer section of the grocery store, one of the big questions about raising animals for meat is…Can I do it? Can I butcher and process my own? This introduction to butchering addresses not only the why and how of it, but the deeper aspects of what it means to take life for our own sustenance and how to do it with the least suffering on the part of the animal.
In this class we will learn and practice butchering fowl. This class is reccommended for all people keeping chickens, as there will generally be some point in the life of husbanding chickens where you need to cull or retire a bird. There will be a demonstration, hands-on experience of wielding the knife, cooking and eating. We will also include information on organ meats and recipes for older animals.

Home Sausage Making: Fresh & Cured
Wednesday June 18, 2014 7-9:30pm
Instructor: Seth Peterson
Location: Berkeley
Cost: $35-65
sliding scale Plus $10 supply fee
People have been making dry cured meat products for thousands of years. The process may seem daunting, however it it actually much easier than you might think. This class will demonstrate the ease and practicality of making and curing sausage at home.  We will cover appropriate cuts of meat, equipment for grinding and stuffing, ingredients for seasoning and curing and essential conditions for dry curing.  We’ll talk about the pros and cons of curing salts (nitrates), when they can be left out and when they are essential for success and safety.   Then we’ll practice grinding the meat,  mixing it with condiments, salt and fat and running  it through the casings.   We will taste some of the instructors home cured meats, cook up a bit of fresh sausage prepared that evening and take home a sample to try curing on our own.

The Turkey: Thanksgiving & Beyond
Wednesday November 12, 2014 6:30-9:30pm
Instructor: Seth Peterson
Location: Berkeley
Cost: $35-65
sliding scale Plus $10 supply fee

This hands-on class will give you everything you need to know to prepare the perfect Thanksgiving Turkey, but will also go beyond that, exploring less traditional takes on the bird. After we talk about how and where to buy them, we’ll learn knife skills, preparation and cooking techniques to get the most out of your bird. We’ll learn traditional techniques of stuffing, dressing and roasting as well as how to break it down to prepare it in other ways including deep frying, brining, poaching, confitting and barbeque-ing,. We’ll talk about different approaches to white meat and dark meat, how to use the remaining turkey carcass, ways to incorporate organ meats that the whole family can enjoy. Then we'll build confidence through practice by preparing a feast together. We'll send you home with a bounty of flavors, recipes, and inspiration. Bring your favorite thanksgiving recipes to swap.

Pork Belly: Making Bacon & Pancetta at Home
Wednesday April 16, 2014 7-9:30pm
Instructor: Seth Peterson
Location: Berkeley
Cost: $35-70
sliding scale Plus $10 supply fee

Pork belly is probably the most versatile cut of pork and is the basis of two beloved cured meat products, bacon and pancetta. In this hands on class, we will learn the basics of curing meats, local purchase and selection of quality meats, essential ingredients and basic techniques. We’ll learn how the flavor of bacon is enhanced by smoking, how to salt cure meat in the refrigerator and an explantion of additional projects that can be done in a similar manner such as prociutto and lardo. We’ll taste samples of homemade bacon and pancetta and students will go home with some pork belly, mixed cure and the confidence to make bacon and pancetta at home

The Whole Pig: Community Pig Buy and Butchery
Wednesday August 13, 2014 6:30-9:30pm
Instructor: Seth Peterson
Location: Berkeley

Cost $35-65 sliding scale Plus $55(paid separately) for 10 pounds of exceptional pork
Join the Institute of Urban Homesteading's inaugural collective-meat-buying "meatshare" party! Have you ever thought about going in on a sustainably raised, local pig with friends but didn’t know where to start? This class offers the opportunity share in the bounty of locally-sourced, pasture-raised pig from a small ranch with other students. We’ll be buying a whole pig together and breaking it down in the class into the various cuts for you to take home! You’ll get a handle on the whole process start to finish. We’ll introduce you to a few local ranches that sell whole animals and teach you about hanging weight, pricing, interfacing with the butcher, different cuts and how to break down the pig yourself if you desire. Along the way, we will talk about different pork farming methods and brainstorm different projects you can do with pork cuts. The icing on the cake? You’ll go home with ten pounds of assorted cuts ranging from premium, such as pork roasts, pork belly, and pork chops, to equally delicious, affordable cuts such as ribs, shoulder, butt and pork fat.

How it will work: Register now to secure your spot for this wonderful opportunity. About a month before the class we’ll ask you to send your deposit for your share of the pig. This will be paid directly to the instructor in check or Paypal. Depending on the size of the pig, there may be the option to purchase additional cuts at the class for the similar price of about $5.50 a pound (less than half the price of a similar quality meat in the store) This can be paid separately


Preservation & Fermentation
All About Dehydration
Wednesday July 16, 2014 6:30-9:30pm
Instructor: Seth Peterson
Location: Berkeley
Cost: $35-65
sliding scale Plus $10 supply fee

What is it about foods like jerky, apricots, nori, and sun dried tomatoes that makes them so delicious?   Dehydration, one of the oldest and simplest methods of preservation,  concentrates, develops and matures flavors while preserving nutrition. This class will introduce you to the science and art of dehydration. After an introduction  to the culinary, nutritional and historical background of dehydration as a means of preservation, we’ll survey the different options for dehydrating at home including the oven method, stove method, pilot method, electric drier and solar drier,  We’ll talk about, how to select  and prepare the best produce and meats for dehydration, proper temperatures for best preservation and storage of the finished products.  We’ll learn to make some well-known favorites such as meat jerky and fruit leather, but also some more esoteric dehydration practices, such as broth, bread and yeast. We’ll prepare some things in class that can be taken home to dry on your own or picked up from the instructor a few days later.  Please note:  this class is similar and yet different from the dehydration Basisc class being offered later in the season: do read each description carefully.

Brewcraft: Mead ~ Making Fruit & Honey Wines
Sunday June 15, 2014 2:30pm-5pm
Sunday October 5, 2014 2:30pm-5pm
Instructor: K.Ruby Blume
Location: North Oakland
Cost: $35 -65
sliding scale Plus $10 tasting fee
Mead is a traditional drink made from water, honey and yeast with other fruits and spices added in to enhance the pleasure in drinking it. In this class we will learn the basic process of making wine from honey including equipment, ingredients and fermentation techniques, tips, tricks and troubleshooting, Emphasis is on making wines with natural ingredients instead of chemicals and a range of brew-styles from simple to technical will be presented. We will start one batch and taste several

Canning Extravaganza: Fruit, Pickles & Tomatoes
Saturday May 31, 2014 11am-3pm CLASS FULL
Saturday June 28, 2014 1pm-5pm
Saturday August 9, 2014 1pm-5pm

Saturday September 20, 2014 1pm-5pm

Instructor:K.Ruby Blume
Location: North Oakland
Cost: $50-80
sliding scale plus $15 supply fee to be paid on day of class
Come learn the joy and simplicity of home canning! Canning is a wonderful way to preserve the bounty of summer. Eat ripe peaches in January and never worry about holiday gifts again! After a thorough introduction to the theory , safety issues, equipment and ingredients, we will put our new knowledge to practice and can up some seasonal organic high acid fruits and tomatoes with two failproof methods --the waterbath method and the inversion method. You will learn about jam, jellies, compotes, vinegar pickled vegetables sauces and salsa, no fail low sugar jams and some secrets about pectin. As an extra bonus we'll demonstrate a quick method for canning juice that extends the bounty. Everyone takes home 3 jars of goodies.

Fermentation: The Works!
Sauerkraut, Pickles and All the Bevarges
Saturday April 26 1pm-5pm CLASS FULL
Sunday May 18 1pm-5pm ADDED!
Saturdy August 16 , 1pm-5pm

Instructor: K.Ruby Blume
Location: North Oakland
Cost $50-85
sliding scale plus $15 supply fee
Everything you ever wanted to know about fermented vegetables and drink! Come explore the transformative process of micro-organisms in the kitchen! In this class we will learn to harness the micro-scopic world to enhance flavour, nutrition and digestability, turning raw organic ingredients into foods and condiments which far surpass their commercially available counterparts. We'll learn about sauerkraut, kim chi, dill pickles, pickled beet and fermented fruits. Then we'll move on to explore all the drinks: we will learn how to "catch" a wild ginger beer bug, whey sodas, the difference between kombucha and vinegar and how to make them all. You will taste a variety of finished products and take home a wealth of concepts to experiment with.

Ferment! Kombucha, Kvass, Ginger Beer, Whey Sodas & More
Saturday July 26 2014 2pm-4:30pm
Wednesday November 5, 2014 6:30-9pm
Instructor: K.Ruby Blume
Location: North Oakland
sliding scale plus $10 supply fee to be paid on day of class
Learn to brew your own pro-biotic beverages at home. Kombucha, kvass, ginger beer, whey sodas, water kefir and similar drinks are a amazingly cheap and easy to make! If you are hooked on these drinks, save hundreds every year by brewing them up yourself. After learning about different types of ferments, health benefit and how the process works, we'll get down to business in the kitchen tasting and brewing. You'll learn how to catch a wild ginger beer "bug" and develop your own fruit soda recipesa. You'll go home with a packets of recipes, several bottles of drink and inspration!

Ferment! Sauerkrait, Pickles, Kim Chi

Wednesday June 25 2014, 6:30-9pm
Wednesday October 15, 2014 6:30-(pm
Instructor: K.Ruby Blume
Location: North Oakland
$35-65 sliding scale plus $10 supply fee to be paid on day of class
Fermenting foods is a healthful and amazingly easy way to preserve and enhance the flavor and nutrition of food. In this class we will learn about different types of fermentation, what the health benefits are and how the process works. Then we'll focus on fermenting vegetables from mixed sauerkraut to dill pickles, pickled beets and kim chi. We'll learn foolproof folk methods and troubleshotting tips for consistant success. We'll taste a number of finshed products and then get hands-on practice making up several different fermented vegetable projects. Along with your supply fee there will be a short list of readily available supplies to bring with you.
Eevrynone with take home recipes and goodies.

The BItter Truth: Making & Mixing Homemade Bitters
Friday November 7, 2014 7-10pm
Instructor: Tanya Stiller
Location: Berkeley
Cost: $40-70
sliding scale plus $15 supply fee
Come learn the basic methods of small-batch artisanal bitter brewing. Experiment with differenct flavor profiles and fashion your own signature blend while learning several tried and true recipies. We will discuss the medicinal benefits of bitter herbs, spices and botanicals, and the digestive issues they can help remedy. We will go into the history of apertifs, digestifs and consider what cocktails and beverages pair best with different bitters. Come get your Mixology on.

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Other Amazing Kitchen Skills

All About Avocados
Sunday April 27, 2014 1pm-5pm
Instructor:Jillian Steinberger
Location: Tour starting in Oakland TBA
Cost: $40-70
sliding scale
In this class you will learn that yes, you can grow avocados. Well be carpool caravaning on an adventurous driving tour to visit vigorous avocado trees in the East Bay. Some people have planted with success and others have inherited established trees when they bought their property. Some established trees have 2’-3’ diameter trunks, are over 40 feet tall, and produce hundreds of pounds of fruit which can lend itself to neighborhood sharing and gleaning. We’ll address why so few have been planted here, and why experts are now recommending planting more. We’ll discuss best planting and growing techniques. We’ll also talk about the many varieties we can grow here – from Hass to Mexicola Grande and many more – including which are hardiest for our microclimates, and how to plant for a year round crop. We’ll learn about pollination, cultivation, fertilization, pruning and harvesting. We’ll also talk about health benefits and culinary and cosmetic uses for avocados, and share recipes.

Baking 101:Scones As A Way of Life
Wednesday April 30, 2014 7pm-9pm
Instructor: Josh Caraci
Location: North Berkeley
Cost: $25-50
sliding scale plus $5 supply fee
Learn how scones can teach you (almost) everything you need to know about baking and beyond! In this hands-on class we be mixing , baking (and eating!) delicious scones from locally sourced ingredients. In the process we’ll discuss ratios and chemistry and how this information can be used to create your own recipes and scone variations as well as a host of other baked goods. With the exception of baking soda we will use ingredients from the farmers market or the garden. There will be scones to take home along with a list of recipes, books and resources.

Community Design Clinic:
Preservation, Fermentation & Other Heirloom Kitchen Skills

Wednesday September 24. 2014 6:30pm-9pm
Location: TBA Will announce in our September newsletter, or contact us
Cost $5-25
no one turned away
Join others from the community to sip a glass of wine or tea and talk about all things related to heirloom kitchen skills. Get ansers and share tips and recipes.. We'll have a couple of our instructors on hand to facilitate and answer questions on a wide variety of topics and the gatering will be driven by the interests of those attending.

Kitchen Mastery: Wielding the Knife
Wednesday May 14, 2014 7pm-9:30pm
Instructor: Seth Peterson
Location: Berkeley
Cost: $35-65
sliding scale Plus $5 supply fee
Ever watch with fascination as a professional cook whips through a pile of vegetables with style, fast, precise, consistant? Knife skills are amongst the most essential yet least taught in the home. In this class we’ll cover all the basics with plenty of hands-on practice. We’ll learn what to look for when purchasing a knife, different kinds of knives, basic care for and maintainance (ourin depth knife sharpening course later this summer is a perfect companion to this class). Then we’ll learn how to hold both the knife and the item to be cut for best control. We'll chop a small hill of veggies to practice many different types of cuts and to start building up your muscle memory. This is a comprehensive intro to a skill that will last you a lifetime.

Knife Sharpening & Tool Care
Saturday August 2, 2014 1pm-4:30pm
Instructor: Grant Marcoux
Location: Alameda
Cost $35-70
sliding scale
Tired of knives that just won't cut the mustard (or anything else)? Join blacksmith and cutler Grant Marcoux for course in kitchen and field cutlery sharpening. Learn about knife construction, steel types and how to get the perfect edge on your knives. The goal is to provide the student with the knowledge to maintain their own knives. Students will learn the techniques of hand-sharpening using the oil-stone, steel and strop. Students should bring at least one knife to sharpen. Purchasing a 5" or greater sharpening stone (about $15-20) is very helpful, but not mandatory.
As a bonus we'll also talk about other metal tools and utensils and their basic care.

Made With Masa: Tortillas, Tamales and More
Wednesday October 1, 6:30-9:30pm
Instructor: Seth Peterson
Location: Berkeley
Cost: $35-65
sliding scale Plus $10 supply fee
Masa, made from corn or maiz, as it is traditionally called, is the basis for a wide range of Latin American dishes, including tortillas, tamales, sopes, tostadas and pupusas. Making the masa from scratch is easier than making pancakes and the resulting products excel in flavor and texture compared to the store bought versions. In this hands on class, we’ll be working together in the kitchen to mix up our own masa and then turn it into tortillas, pupusas, and a few other dishes. Additionally, we will walk through the traditional and ancient process of nixtamalization, which makes maiz not only more delicious but more nutritious.

Olive Picking & Brining at Hillcrest Ranch
Sunday November 9, 2014 10:30am-1pm
Instructor: Kathleen Elliot
Location: Hillcrest Ranch, Sunol
Cost $35-65
sliding scale plus $15 supp;y fee to be paid to instructor on the day of class
Discover the joy of making your own olives. You'll learn the process from harvest to milling and from brining to cooking with your olives. Join us at Hillcrest Ranch in Sunol, where we'll start by picking ripe olives from this historic olive orchard. Then we'll learn home to preserve them through the traditional process of brining and take a tour of the home-scale olive press that they use for small pressings on the ranch. Each student will take home a generous quart of olives to enjoy at home. Weather permitting enjoy the spectacular view from the ranch while you eat your pic-nic lunch or stay after for a hike in the Pleasanton Ridge Park.

This class takes place at Hillcrest Ranch a 6 acres olive tree farm in Sunol, planted in the 1890s and still producing olives and olive oil today. The ranch is an approximately 45 minute drive from Oakland and is well worth the time it takes to get there. Come earlier in the day for a hike in Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park (the Ranch is located within its limits) and then enjoy the spectacular views from the Ranch during the class. Carpooling/caravan will be arranged, please let us know if you can offer or need a ride when you register.

Soup & Salad: Spring Foraging Expedition
Saturday April 19, 2014 10am-1pm
Instructor: Tanya Stiller
Location: Berkeley
Cost: $40-70
sliding scale plus $5 supply fee in cash on day of class
In this class you will forage and taste greens and vegetables that you see every day, growing around your neighborhood. You will learn to identify, use and process both urban weeds and native East Bay edibles and explore which wild foods are best to eat raw in a salad, cooked into a spring soup, or used as medicinal tea. You will leave this class with a full belly, as well as an understanding of some traditional ethnobotanical uses of common east bay plants and which may be safely harvested to eat. Bring clothing appropriate for weather, and comfortable walking shoes that can get dirty.






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