Posts Tagged: TX

VegFest 2014 Vol. 2

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Good day all,

It was an extra early-rise day Saturday, but the chilly wind helped keep us all high energy and functioning.  It was very encouraging to see how many volunteers showed up for the 6 a.m. shift–20+ to be sure–and humbling to experience the functionality of people coming together for a cause that we all stand behind.  We completed all of the ‘set-up’ tasks far before expected and we were all able to help out in areas we did not initially expect to, which was both a positive learning experience and a true test of multitasking. One of the many highlights of my volunteer experience was the fact that I was able to spend my entire volunteer shift with my husband, which is incredibly rewarding, being able to experience the fun together. Another highlight was a young mother who decided to bring her young baby along with her the entire morning by carrying the baby in an Ergo type carrier, marsupial style.  She was one diligent marsupial momma and she became my inspiration for that particular day and days to come.  It was encouraging to see someone being active and volunteering as a woman and mother, deciding to not let her world stop because she is now a mom.  She chose to involve her young one and display an act of community giving that is priceless.  I know I’m about to sound terribly cliché, but it made my heart grow three sizes bigger.  I was so taken aback, I had to tell her!

After our volunteer shift was completed, we decided to disguise our VegFest tees’ and become official guests of the event.  Though we were a little rushed, I feel like the time we spent went swimmingly!  The flow of the crowd seemed to be better circulated than in years past due to–in my opinion–better organization of the booths. Also, there were many more vendors and food stops where you could get information, samples, and a full-blown meal!

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While walking around and getting to know the vendors–some old hats and some newbies–we came across a new company called Uber Foods that makes energy bars.  After just one small sample and hearing about their new company from an eager young man, I decided to buy a bar; ‘dos cacao’.  It’s made here in Austin, has only six ingredients and it’s gluten-free and vegan!  It was pricy, but I never mind paying a little more for quality and in support of a growing company.

There were farms represented at VegFest this year, and Tecolote Farm is a local farm!

There were farms represented at VegFest this year, and Tecolote Farm is a local farm!

My tummy was soon grumbling for a meal following our volunteer shift and I had my eye set on Aster’s Ethiopian booth.  It was good gloop!  What’s wonderful about Ethiopian food is the manner in which they go about eating.  They not only use their hands, but they consume the food with a spongy bread call injera made with teff flour, which is rich in amino acids and several vitamins and minerals.   Some Ethiopian restaurants add wheat to their injera, however, Aster’s is 100% gluten-free!  Happy tummies all around. 😀

We ended our Texas VegFest time, much like we did our second year, with a bowl of Sweet Ritual ice-cream–salted caramel.  No sprinkles were on hand this year, but the ice-cream left nothing to be desired for a sweet tooth.

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Attending Texas VegFest was a pleasant reminder that we should all take a moment to re-evaluate the way we approach our time and how we devote it, not only to the food we eat, but to other people around us. You get what you give in life, so let’s all try to give a little more. :)  And if you can, involve the little one’s in your life in your activities.  Experiences are the best gifts you can give and will last longer than all the toys in the world!  Oh, and remember…bite responsibly!

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Healthy Regards,

RAM

 

VegFest 2014 Vol. 1

Good day everyone,

I must admit, I am currently under the influence of one heaping scoop of cocoa powder in my morning smoothie, and ready to talk about Veg Fests!  This coming April 5th, here in Austin, TX, we will have our very own Texas Veg Fest (year 3), and I know it’s going to be even bigger and better than the last two years.  The first year I just attended, but last year I was a volunteer with the information booth and this year I’m volunteering with the AV team, and I’m excited!

Let’s start with a little about Vegfest.  Vegfest is just that, a festival that focuses on vegetarian cuisine and more specifically, 100% plant-based, not animal product cuisine and oftentimes sustainability through lifestyle choices and animal rights.  It occurs annually in different cities and in different formats in each city.

Texas Vegfest of Austin, occurs by the beautiful Lady Bird Lake and is loaded with over a hundred vendors, cooking demos and lectures, music performers, speakers and tastings galore!  I don’t suggest attending this festival while doing a ‘cleanse’ as there will be far too many temptations.

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I am looking forward to Saturday where I’ll get to help out, meet people, try new things and mingle with veggie thoughts.  I hope you’ll join me and many others!  Be sure to stay tuned next week for ‘Veg Fest Vol.2’, where I will discuss post-fest topics and what went down.

Short and sweet to the sole today–love you Dandies.  And remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy Regards,

Rachel Manning

Ten Reasons I Adore Shopping at My Local Farmers’ Market

Hello Everyone,

Today, I would like to take some time to express my true appreciation for the local farmers’ where I live–and everywhere for that matter–who make farmers’ markets possible.  In no particular order, here’s Reasons I Adore Shopping at My Local Farmers’ Market:

  1.  A perfectly sound reason to wake up early on  Saturday.  As I am most naturally a morning person (whatever that means), there is not one particular day of the week I enjoy appreciating more than another.  For me, the mind is most astute and active earlier in the day, and I don’t make real exceptions for when I awake.  My only personal rule is, I love getting eight-hours of sleep.  Sleeping-in is nine hours.  Thank you FM for enticing me into a productive and lovely start to a day with little obligation. (note: the SFC’s Farmer’s Market has multiple markets, I just tend to frequent one.)

by Dons

  1.  A dog show in its most casual format.  As I do have a strong fondness for felines, I also have a very special place in my heart for canines.  Growing up, we had a basset hound name Bevo, and my strongest memories are of Hercules our Rottweiler.  Now, I have a ridiculous affinity for all animals long hair, or odd in some way.  I’ve seen a tremendous assortment of breeds at the market from English Bulldogs to the every so intelligent and elegant Australian Shepherd and it makes me giddy every time.  I doubt not, that for that hour or so we’re there toddling about I revert back to being 8 again, squealing and giggling.  A very silly side of me comes out for sure.  OH, and how lovely that people want to take out the animals they are guardians to and share such happy communal experiences.

  2.  Members of the community working together for something bigger.  Each market I attend I am reminded that with perseverance, communication, integrative ingenuity, and thoughtful behavior anything can happen.  Well maybe not ANYTHING, but most things can organize.  The FM is a true reminder of the grace and beauty that human beings can possess if given the opportunity and knowledge to do so.

  3.  Recognizing a face with what I’m eating.  Making the connection between the food on your plate/bowl/napkin/hand to its originator is an incredible rush.  I mean, the next best thing would be taking the necessary steps to growing all of your own produce (I’m a beginner farmer now), but recognizing a face and having them recognize you back is one immediate way to show appreciation for all that nourishes us.  Connect the dots, that’s all I can say, do this when possible.

www.urbanrootsatx.org

  1.  Variety.  By variety, I don’t just mean of produce, I also mean the farmers’ you choose to buy from.  Though there’s a need for some consistency in life, at the farmers’ market you know you can rely on a farmer whose produce you’re especially keen on, but rest easy knowing there’s always someone new offering a different type of kale you’ve never tried, or a native fruit that you’ve never actually tasted directly from your home state.  When we go to the market, our tendency is to distribute our funds to different farmers’ and vendors throughout.  The variety is exquisite and never disappointing.  *This means dinners always have variety too.

  2.  It’s an experience.  In many ways, calling the farmers’ market an ‘experience’ seems to down-grade its importance, but perhaps grammatically it’s all in how you look at ‘it’.  Nonetheless, if you’ve never been to a live market, it’s certainly something you should try.  I will warn you, there is a level of intimidation on your first visit that may make going sort of off-putting.  For some people, this feeling resonates over into many visits until they get into the swing of things.  Markets can be highly trafficked, especially if it’s a well marketed one in a bumpin’ area.  This alone can cause introverts or claustrophobes to run screaming, but please, I beseech you to give it a try.  I am by no means a crowd person, but it’s quite exhilarating to be sure.

I have picked up a few plants from this sweet and helpful plant farmer.

  1.  The privilege of being able to connect produce with its rightful season.   Baring in mind you are buying a majority of your produce at a FM you will assuredly see this benefit for all that it is worth.   With whizzing technology and little room for slowing down, what was once a human instinct has now become forgotten lore for many.  Produce has seasons?  What’s scarier is that most youth of now–unless we work hard to educate them–will have absolutely no connection with where their food comes from because they’ll be able to pop quarters and slide plastic cards for instant access to ‘food’…in excess.  I have this text-book that has a chart which identifies the seasons with the vegetables and fruits that fall under said seasons.  Rather than having to use this book on a regular basis I’m becoming accustomed to what there will be before I go.  Instincts.  😀

  2.  Nutrient-packed veggies and fruits.  In their raw form, you can’t do any better than snagging some fresh peaches at your summer FM.  Yes, you  might be able to easily pick up peaches at the grocery store, but they might be shipped in from another state, and be hard like stone fruit (they are more decorative than edible).  When you buy from your local market, the produce is most typically ripe and full of flavor.  Also, keep in mind that every time your food is shipped in, it is that many more days lacking in nutrients.  After talking with a farmer a weekend ago, I was convinced to buy a basket of tomatoes that needed a bit more ripening simply because he just picked them the night before.  Delightful.

  3.  Organic without the label.  Many small farms cannot afford the cost of labeling their produce USDA Organic, but rest assured, most local farmers’ produce is in fact organic and free of many of the chemicals that turn a normal strawberry into a toxic mess.

  4.  Experimenting with vegetables and fruits I’ve never tried before.  From the geometrical masterpiece of romanesco brocoflower to the crisp and colorful Japanese kale , I’ve never been disappointed by the choice of interesting and fun produce.  I’ve ‘mixed-it-up’ a few usual recipes with an item I would have otherwise ignored in a grocery store.

I could easily list more, but instead why don’t some of you tell me about your market experiences.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  I hope I’ve helped many of you cultivate more reasons to shop at your local market.

I would also like to give a special thanks to the Sustainable Food Center‘s staff and volunteers who work hard every week to keep these markets running smoothly.

Have a lovely day, and remember…bite responsibly.

 

Healthy Regards,

~RAM~