Wild yeast

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North Adams has its own sourdough starter. If I had no other reason to love "Oh, Canada!" at Mass MoCA, I would love it for this.

Eryn Foster took a bowl of flour and water for a walk around North Adams, as she explains in a museum-made YouTube video, to collect wild yeasts native to the city. She fed and nurtured the sourdough starter she created, until it was stable and live enough to leaven pizza dough, and she baked pizzas in a brick oven she built in a new community garden near the museum.

The wooden cart that carried the starter around town now forms the nucleus of a display in the museum, with a poster about foraging for wild yeasts (in appropriate walking shoes and jeans). It's half impish and half serious.

Because here's the kicker -- anyone who wants some can walk up to the museum's front desk and claim their very own half cup of starter in a jam jar, with instructions for care and feeding.

The woman who gave me mine explained that Foster hopes people around the county, or the country, will take home their own, and play with it, and let each other know how it goes. She has a forum -- http://agiftofculturedculture.com -- for discussion. These local microscopic organisms, treated gently and tended regularly, might grow a community.

For more on sourdough and "Oh, Canada,' visit www.berkshire
eagleblogs.com/bytheway.


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