A couple of weeks ago I flew to sunny Northern California with my mother-in-law to attend an event that was all things heirloom and sustainable: The National Heirloom Exposition. We had a blast and got to see and taste (!) so many new and awesome varieties of heirloom fruits and veggies as well as listen to a slew of top-notch speakers.
I’m excited to try out some new products, techniques and varieties next spring (I’m tempted to start now, but it is September in Alaska).
A few of the highlights:
- The never-ending watermelon tasting lineup. It’s hard to find anything but the giant and personal sized seedless watermelons (who knows what variety) here in Alaska, and needless to say they aren’t local. Crimson Sweet, Tender Gold, Dixie Queen and White Wonder were some of my favorites on the first day. What a great treat to get a break from the heat and refuel.
- The mounds of squashes, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, eggplant and melons and, and, and…seemingly at every turn. The squashes and mushrooms in particular won my heart.
- Shoshanna Easling, of Bulk Herb Store fame gave an amazing talk on herbal body care. As some of you know I make my body care products from scratch, but it’s always intriguing to hear how others are doing it. I now have some new ideas to tweak my favorite recipes.
- SmartPot – Paul was giving away 3 and 5 gallon pots and I scored a 3 gallon, 5 gallon and wall mountable pot that I can’t wait to try out next spring. They also have a large compost pot that I think would be perfect for growing potatoes. The aeration pots allow the roots to grow through and air-prune, forcing the plant to make a denser root system without becoming root bound. Supposedly the plants will produce more flowers and fruits and be more resistant to pests and disease. Thanks Paul!
- Garlic grater bowl, handmade by local potters Alan and Donna Podesto of Architectual Ceramic Design. These bowls are not only lovely and solidly constructed, but they also function beautifully. Just grate your garlic or ginger right in the bottom of the bowl add oil and seasonings and you’ve got your dip or salad dressing ready to serve, with no extra dishes and mess – we love that around here! They also clean up really easily (dishwasher safe) and won’t dull like my microplane.
- Free seeds from Baker Creek and Bountiful Gardens! Including a fun mix of mystery seeds (veg, tree and flower). Who doesn’t love free stuff, right?
Needless to say the National Heirloom Exposition is a treasure trove of good eats, great people, awesome vendors and top-notch speakers sharing a wealth knowledge. I would highly recommend visiting next year if you are in the area, or if you’re like me, just make a vacation out of it. Sonoma County California is a great place to visit.
Just to be clear, I am not an affiliate for any of the products mentioned, nor will I receive any compensation. The thoughts are my own. I want only to share my enthusiasm!