Photo of and by Aaron Adams

By Jack Rubinger

Business is good at Fermenter, which specializes in cultured and fermented foods for home and to go with items like ready to eat sandwiches.

Aaron Adams’ plant-based “beneficial bacteria emporium” moved from its original location and took over the Farm Spirit space on Belmont St., streamlining both restaurant concepts into a single location. The converted space is now open for lunch, dinner, take-out and delivery.

In its new 1,000 square-foot home, Fermenter continues its celebration of all things probiotic created in small batches and sourced from within 105 miles of Portland. 

The former Farm Spirit dining room has been converted into a delicatessen setting, offering guests soups, sandwiches, bowls, salads, provisions and sides ready to eat or to take out and prepare at home.

“We support local agriculture, healthy and wholesome vegan food, delicious and crave- able,” said Adams who is both chef and owner. “Our goal is to balance innovation and tradition, so while we offer burgers and sandwiches, we prepare them in exciting ways, like right now we’re looking at adding Japanese style pickles to several items.”

Something new for Fermenter customers is a box subscription delivery service, which will go for about $80 a month and feature items not normally found in the store.

During Portland’s long and damp winter, people are enjoying items like tempeh bacon which is cured with brown sugar, salt and smoked in applewood. Also hugely popular are Adams’ craveable Fermenter burgers.

A vegan Reuben sandwich with hazelnut cheese on a deli rye pullman loaf with ruby kraut and koji beets is a big hit. The beets are peeled and smoke-cured. 

Everything at Fermenter is 100 percent vegan. Many items are made in-house, including sauerkraut, kimchi and tempeh (which goes into the tempeh burgers. The tempeh is marinated in a Shio Koji blend of smoked onions, which breaks down proteins and creates a nice sweetness and savoriness. They also whip up Icelandic style vegan yogurt. 

“We’re a tightly-knit group,” said Adams. “We focus on our customers. Our goal is to make people feel good when they come in the door.”

Dan Dionne started as a customer visiting Fermenter at least one to two times a week from opening to becoming friends with Adams.

“It’s by far the best food I’ve had in Portland. It’s weird because I’ve been a junk food vegan for 21 years. There is something about what they do that satisfies those cravings but in a healthier way,” said Dionne.

“They serve you something that on paper can seem so simple, but the fact is that there is so much hard work and love that is put into creating these recipes and dishes they are serving, that sometimes take weeks to create. These dishes aren’t just thrown together. There is so much thought and care put into them on so many levels,” he said.


1403 SE Belmont St.




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