(Pretend I am saying the following in a loud television announcer’s voice) It’s the 6th Annual National Heirloom Expo!!!!! in beautiful Santa Rosa, California (end loud voices in your head!). The pea project is heading west, 36 hours west to be more exact, to enjoy all the sights, colors, textures, and of course flavors at the world’s largest heritage food event. Why I am going besides the cool sounding name? Here are my top 7 reasons (now make some drum rolling sounds in your head). But first…
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TOP 7 REASONS I AM GOING TO THE NATIONAL HEIRLOOM EXPO
1. Seeing & tasting the sights
There will be plenty of sights to take in at the expo. There will be plenty of photos to snap for Instagram. The star has got to be a towering display of squash. How fun is that?! Squashes in all sorts of shapes, colors, and sizes. All sorts of heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables will be present (over 4,000 varieties expected). It will be fun to just take in all the beauty, touch it, and even smell it – when produce gets together, the smells are wonderful. There are tastings going on as well, so my taste buds won’t be left out of all the fun.
All five senses will be needed for this expo. Ears are needed to hear the over 100 speakers, discussing various topics throughout the expo. They have 3 different halls where people will be sharing. I printed off the list of speakers, so I could highlight the ones I want to see, as the options are so numerous. Here are a couple that I am really looking forward to
John Valenzuela on Classic Heirloom Fruits of California
* Ken Love (of Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers) on Amazing Exotic Fruit
* Jennie London on How to Start a Small Market Farm (hopefully some tips I will need one day!)
* Ken Green (Hudson Valley Seed Library) telling the stories behind different heirloom varieties.
Click here to learn more about the speakers that are coming.
With people from all parts of the natural food world, this is a great networking event for a food writer/gardener like myself. Hopefully I can meet some people that I can learn from and maybe be a help to me along my career path.
4. Fruits of their Labor
Another one of my online projects is a website called “Fruits of Their Labor“. This is me sharing my passion for visiting farms, vineyards, orchards, etc and sharing the stories behind how the products came to be – all the time, money, sweat, setbacks, and successes. The expo will introduce me to a lot of different potential subjects for this website, that will feature more in-depth magazine style e-books.
5. Awesome vendors
Last year they hosted over 350 vendors selling all sorts of things from food to gardening supplies. A couple of the vendors that I saw on the list that peaked my interested are are xroads Philippines Sea Salts and Koda Farms (a rice producer).
Here is a list of the food vendors at the expo.
There will also be vendors at the expo with seeds (such as Redwood Seeds). I always look for an opportunity to see what other seeds might be out there, that I haven’t seen before in a seed catalog. There are always rare gems out there to find that you can grow yourself; you will never find them on a supermarket shelf.
7. For my kids
The expo is not just for adults. For the first time, they are having a 3 day kids expo with a pavilion just for kids. I am happy I can bring along my kids and they will have something specific tailored towards them. The best part is that kids get into the expo itself for free! Here is a schedule of what they have going on each day for the kiddios.
There you have it. If you have the chance to head out to this expo, take it. With so much to see and do, it will be worth the time and money you spend. As for me, I am looking at the expo as a potential life changing event that will help further propel me into my future food goals. Going? Leave a comment below and I will see ya there!!!!