Thousands have flooded into the National Heirloom Expo, held over three days at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, to embrace the old-is-new food movement espoused by Baker Creek Heirloom Seed owner Jeremiah “Jere” Gettle and held dear by so many of us in Sonoma County.
And there’s one remaining day to experience this event.
Far beyond a garden show or food event, the Heirloom Expo has brought together more than 250 vendors (including many local companies to showcase everything from Della Fattoria bread, Sonoma Chocolatiers, Sonomic Balsamic Vinegars, Farmtrails and Amy’s Kitchen to Clover Stornetta, Straus Creamery, the Petaluma Seed bank, Sonoma Community Market and dozens of others along with nationally renowned speakers (Alice Waters, Vandana Shiva, Jeffrey Smith) and eye-popping produce displays from local farmers. Area food trucks including Fork Catering and mobile vendors Pizza Politano, The Farmer’s Wife, Michoacan Ice Cream serve up food throughout the day. There’s a mobile bee hive, school garden demonstrations, a wicked wonderful pumpkin tower and chef demos throughout the day.
Though we weren’t sure what to expect from this fledgling event, BiteClub’s collection of Sonoma County fermenters at the Fermentation Nation has been mobbed with passionate enthusiasts and curious newcomers who’ve thronged our booth during demonstrations on Sourdough Bread starters (Courtway Catering), Kombucha-making (Jennifer Harris), Pickles and Sauerkraut (Alexander Valley Gourmet), Cheese-making (Sheana Davis and Beverage People), Ginger Ale and Mead-making (Marley Peifer), Fermented Soybeans (Natto) with Japan Traditional Foods, Chocolate (Sonoma Chocolatiers) and one-on-one sessions in our “living room” about at-home fermenting. Today we’ll feature additional sessions from Jill Nussinow (The Veggie Queen) as well as more kombucha, mead, soda and sourdough-making. I can’t wait to share more about what I’ve learned from these amazing people.
The Expo runs from 11am to 9pm tonight. Admission is $10 for adults (kids are free) and all proceeds go to school gardening programs.
Speakers today include Dave Henson from Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, Wendy Krupnick of Santa Rosa Junior College, events at the mobile bee observatory, Bob Cannard, Chef Jeremy Fox, the producers of the movie Vanishing of the Bees, Jere Gettle, Jeff and Susan Mall from Zin Restaurant and Farm and tonight’s keynote speaker, Dr. Vandana Shiva.
So whether you’re a hard-core food activist or just someone who eats — and I think that includes most of us — I can’t stress enough how worth it this event is. Come for the pickles and pumpkins. Stay for all of our food futures.
See you there!