I’ve become a big fan of Melissa Chang’s WERA show “The Melting Pot” (Saturday mornings 9:30-10:00, with re-airs Wednesday mornings 11:30-noon), a perky, inventive program that helps us “learn about Arlington by what people eat.”
In a recent episode, she took on fermented food, complete with a pickling party. I confess I’m not much of a pickle fan, but Mel knows a good thing when she tastes it, so I kept listening.
The bulk of the show was devoted to an interview with the founder of No. 1 Sons, Yi Wah Roberts, who recently moved his pickling and fermentation business from cramped quarters in Arlington to a bigger spread in the District.
I was so taken by the descriptions Mel drew forth of the finer points of fermentation and the wild variety of styles and flavor with which he experimented, I vowed I’d seek Roberts out at the Farmers Market. Which I did. And where I found charming Chili Bears (2-ounce mini honey bears filled with killer fermented hot sauce, perfect for my sons’ Christmas stockings) and some fabulously, almost-fluorescently purple cider vinegar pickled beets that were too pretty to leave alone.
I took them home, and their Technicolor wonderfulness featured prominently at our Thanksgiving table. My father-in-law, who lives in Florida but grew up on a farm in Ohio and knows his way around pickled anything, was utterly smitten. Last night he called to tell me, with great delight, that he’d gone online, found No. 1 Sons, and was happily in possession of his own quart of those beets shipped to him “all the way from Washington, D.C.”
And that, my friends, is the power of community radio. We find the stories to tell. We share them. And, in ever-widening circles, the reach of our little local stories grows and grows.
Keep the stories coming!
You can hear Mel’s show on pickling on demand at wera.fm or here: https://www.mixcloud.com/Melvis/pickling/