Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Green Fest

That's short for Green Festival, of course. I actually had an abbreviated visit to the event this year. But, I'm not complaining; I've gone the past couple years and was lucky enough to have Rawbin's sister and friends take me along for the ride. Thanks girls :-)

Rawbin was working the NaturalZing booth, which has been doing an excellent job of representing raw food at the festival. I remember checking out their wares the first time I attended. I was so excited to find something raw that year that I got a little out of hand, telling anyone who was interested about the products. I think they thought I worked there.

If I was able to stay at the event for the whole weekend, I would've loved to help out with the booth for real. At least I was able to stop by for a visit.

I got to see Jeff, who started the company 5 years ago; however, I missed his wife, Helen. I'm assuming she was there on Saturday, because I heard their newest addition made an appearance that day (for those who don't know, Jeff and Helen welcomed there second child into the world recently. Congrats you two).

Maria and Nic were also working the booth. I managed to sneak a pic of Maria, but somehow Nic was missing in action at the time. You may remember her from one of my past posts, or perhaps you've even spoken to her when phoning in your NaturalZing order.

She took mine in advance, so I could pick it up at the event. I got lucuma slices (this is what you get before its turned into powder), raw macadamia nuts, raw almonds (these are not pasteurized), coconut butter, MSM lotion (this feels great on my injured foot, which is much better now), agave nectar, a Golden Bean dark chocolate bar (Jeff was nice enough to toss one in for me to try) and kelp noodles (I couldn't find the link on their site right now).

Speaking of kelp noodles, they are one of NaturalZing's newest items, so now you know where you can get them. Some of my readers had been asking about these noodles after I mentioned them on a post about Java Green, which also set up shop at the Green Festival this weekend.

My buddy D.J., who owns the place, made a last minute decision (at least that's what Rawbin told me) to sell a selection from his menu, which included some raw dishes, at the event. From what I understand, I missed the raw pizza on Saturday, but I was happy to still find my favorite kelp noodle dish while I was there on Sunday. Now I can recreate the experience at home with the noodles I just purchased.

I washed it down with a cold-brewed green tea that D.J. gave to me on the house. Thanks D.J. :-)

Moving right along, I didn't have much time to peruse the other booths, but I'll highlight some of my faves. Sticking with the raw food theme, Rawbin and I stopped by SuperFood.com, where we met Josh. He's also involved with Elements for Life, a company my friend Lenette of Go Raw Chicago (although you don't have to be from Chicago to read her blog) introduced me to recently. They have some great products you should check out.

There weren't as many raw foods to sample as I found last year. Larabar (although some of you aren't psyched about this brand since the company was bought out) was distributing mini chocolate cherry and peanut butter cookie bars (I know; the second one was not entirely raw, but I gave in to its peanut butter cookie aroma and flavor. Shame on me).

Cliff Bar was also present, but without their Nectar line. Like Larabar, this line is composed of dried fruits and nuts. Rawbin and I ate more than our share last year, so no wonder they didn't have any to give us this time.

Right around the corner from Cliff Bar was Manitoba Harvest with their hemp products. They were offering up sample cups of hemp seeds, some lettuce coated in hemp oil dressing and hemp seed butter tastings. Their products are delicious and even better when paired up with the Amazing Grasses wheat grass beverages being served up right next to them.

While on the topic of raw food at the festival, I can't forget to mention VegNews, who was set up nearby (Katie and Christine were running the booth at the time). I must applaud the magazine's efforts to bring more attention to the raw food movement on its pages. It helped convince me to renew my subscription for another year. Keep up the good work :-)

The vegan publication is also great for keeping readers up to date on animal rights issues and other related news in a hip format that's always on trend. For instance, the latest issue announces the Veggie Award winners, addresses the great hemp debate and features a holiday shopping guide full of vegan and eco-friendly products.

The festival also had some products, perfect for holiday shopping. I picked up this little dress from Happy Green Bee for my friend, who is expecting a baby girl soon (I got her the matching hat, too). I also found these cute finger puppets for my son (he's been asking about making finger puppets lately) and some freebies to round out his fun.

Now, I always treat myself to something while I'm there, so this year, I purchased some more thigh high socks from In2Green. I love how this company recycles old fibers into new fashions. Last year, I bought my first pair of their socks, as well as a cute shirt for my son. It said, "Be Green for Me," with a frog on it.

While wandering the isles, I came up with some other gift giving ideas, as well as a few for my own Christmas list. So, for you family members who are reading this, hint, hint ...

I fell in love with these Ella Vickers bags last year. One of these days I'll get my hands on one without a leather handle. I also took a liking to this Green Label Organic shirt. It says, "Organic Rocks," with a guitar on it. I don't actually play, although the boys (my husband and son) and I had fun rocking out with Guitar Hero last year at Christmas time.

It wasn't long before it was time to leave the Green Festival, so I made sure to make one last stop at the NaturalZing booth to say my goodbyes. I was hoping Wendi Dee would be back by then, but unfortunately, we missed each other. Oh well, I guess we'll meet eventually.

Blaqberry also texted Rawbin to let her know she was on her way. Sorry I wasn't there to hang out.

Luckily, my friend Joe Kennedy was there to give me a hug goodbye (I look spaced out in this pic). Thanks :-)

Before I leave you for today, I just wanted to share one last photo of a poster I thought caught my eye on the way out. The lighting was bad and there were some yo-yoers doing tricks in front of my view. Therefore, I'll read it for you. It says, "Be an Eco-Hero. Join the Agents of Change."

See, being green can be fun :-)

*For those of you looking for cupcakes, don't worry; the others will be posted this week.