Late last week I took my 12-year-old daughter Eve to the Natural Products Expo West trade show, in Anaheim, California, for the first time. Suddenly, she realized I have a really cool job. We didn’t have time to see everything, since I was mainly there to be part of a panel sponsored by Nature’s Path, but we did manage to eat our way through the organic food section. We found yummy organic cotton candy, the ever-amazing ice cream from Strauss Creamery, and we went back twice for beef burritos by PJ’s Organics (check out the picture!). Eve didn’t even mind that there were beans in them.
When I was a little girl, I went to a similar show with my Dad in Washington, DC. I still remember the thrill of all the colorful booths and free samples—and the vivid taste of Tiger’s Milk bars (what the heck was that, anyway?) and sesame seed candy, which was about as creative as they got back then (no wonder I felt deprived!). And I’m sure that wasn’t even organic candy, just plain old “natural.” Nowadays, you can get organic gummy candy snacks with sport-enhancing electrolytes in them. We snuck out handfuls of them for the plane ride home. Trust me, we needed them.
A few days before the expo, I took my family to the Santa Monica farmer’s market—which was totally frustrating since I didn’t have a kitchen to cook anything in, so I had to just take pictures. Fresh off the plane from a dismal late winter in Pennsylvania, I couldn’t help but feel envy at all the fresh, local produce available in California this time of year. No wonder they think local eating is the bomb. They should try living in Pennsylvania in March. There were amazing organic salad mixes, giant chanterelles, and smoked organic walnuts. Yum!
As I write this, I am headed home on the plane with a ramshackle bag of snack samples from the expo to keep us from extreme crankiness. Best was the Gold Rush brand of organic popcorn and kettle corn. However, we needed about 10 more bags than we had.
I know all the good stuff will be hitting a store near you soon. And I also know spring is around the corner, with my own favorite, the Emmaus Farmer’s Market, opening on the first Sunday in May. I can’t wait. In the meantime, here are some pictures from sunny but chilly California.
And here’s a video of the Nature’s Path panel discussion, “Organic Matters.”