Just got back from that trek to Vegfest (three blocks away), and my belly’s happy and I got a bag of stuff. Northwest Veg, the “vegetarian education and empowerment group” put this little shindig together, so I signed up for the family membership. I think the entire membership fee was paid pack in samples, coupons, and discounts at restaurants I actually eat at.
We didn’t have a whole lot of time, so we didn’t check out any of the speakers or demos, but I’m sure they were well attended. The main exhibitor hall was pretty packed.
Some sample highlights:
Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss nondairy frozen dessert. We had the cappucino one, then the guy made sure we tried the plain coconut one. Holy crap, this stuff is insane. Like if this is all you had as a kid, then someone gave you a taste of dairy ice cream, you’d laugh at whatever puny human gave you such an inferior frozen treat. I can’t imagine how much it must cost, but I’m gonna check when I see it. It’s apparently at the usual suspects out here (New Seasons, Whole Foods), and the company is based in Eugene.
Wilderness Poets hemp nut butters. Tom had the straight-up hemp because the rest had other nuts in them. He said it was like hemp tahini, which it pretty much is—even the recipes on the Wilderness Poets site used it as though it was tahini. I tried the hazelnut-hemp butter and it was really, really good. They served the samples with apple slices. It was a perfect complement. I can’t believe we still have to import our hemp and hempseed. America can be a dumbass sometimes.
I didn’t have any, but Tom and the other fellow we were with (6-year vegan but had never tried this) tasted every flavor of Sheese. And loved them all. Tom had picked up the strong cheddar one before, but the price is a bit prohibitive for habitual usage. If you’re not near a Sheese carrier, Vegan Essentials sells it for just under $9 (for an 8-ounce block), which is pretty much average. You need to also buy the ice pack for $3, so if you do it, you might as well get other cold stuff.
The nonprofit exhibitors there had a ton of traffic too, and I suppose that’s the point of it all, to educate. For some of us, it’s just preaching to the choir, but I have a feeling there were a lot of veg-curious there. I know Portland’s supposed to be the VegMecca, but there can’t be that many. We saw one group of people walking out (with shopping bags) that spanned three generations. That wouldn’t happen with my family.
So thanks, Portland Vegfest.