What We Saw – Heirloom Expo 2014

Ray and I went to the National Heirloom Expo on Tuesday and Wednesday last week and had a wonderful, educational time.  The festival is held in Santa Rosa, California and this year was it’s fourth.  Last year we attended one day and found that one day just isn’t enough time to see or hear everything, so this year we went for two days.  I think next year we will go all three days!

On Tuesday we spent the couple of hours in the Vendor’s Building and met the Brite Tap Waterer guy!  We had a fun conversation, and after actually holding a Brite Tap Waterer in our hands, we know that this will be a definite must have for our future chicken coop.

What we saw at the 2014 Heirloom Expo

We also met Dave and Tina from Luv Nest.  These folks sell organic herbal blends for chickens.  We were given a sample of their Layer Blend, which we happily accepted for our future chickens.  I cheated and opened the sample – it smells so good and fresh!  You can visit their website here:  www.luv-nest.com

What we saw at the Heirloom Expo

We also visited the Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds booth, DripWorks (where we get all of our zero-pressure battery operated water timers), and hundreds of other vendors.  When we got to the Smart Pot guys, they were so informative!  They took the time to explain to us how Smart Pots work and then gave us each a sample – mine is a 5 gallon pot and my husband got a 3 gallon pot.  Cool!  National Heirloom Expo 2014

Then, of course, there were the speakers!  We attended a speech given by Heidi Herrmann about Seaweed: Ecology, Nutrition and Use.  Though Ray and I aren’t necessarily thrilled about the taste of dried seaweed (think v.e.r.y. salty), we know it can be composted into a wonderfully rich compost full of nutrients, or it can be made into a liquid fertilizer simply by putting it into fresh water and letting it decompose.  You see, this is the best excuse I know for us having to vacation by the ocean every year!

We also attended a very informative talk given by Dr. Rajiv Kumar Sinha about Organic Horticulture by Vermiculture (earth worms). Through his heavy accent (he hails from India), we learned a lot about how earthworms help the soil which, in turn, nourishes trees and plants.

Wednesday found us looking at all of the different livestock and organic/non-GMO fruits and vegetables.  Since we are getting chickens soon, a lot of time was spent in the poultry barn.

What we saw at the 2014 Heirloom Expo

Doesn’t she have just the most beautiful feathers? I’m not sure what type of chicken she is, but I think she is one gorgeous gal!

2014 Heirloom Expo, Santa Rosa

These beautiful ducks seemed fairly calm, considering all of the commotion going on around them.

What we sat at the Heirloom Expo

The turkeys were so popular because they were continuously gobble-gobbling, which kept the kids (and adults) entertained.

And there was just about every kind of melon, squash, or fruit on the planet displayed here – except for the nasty GMO kind!

Tower of squash - Heirloom Expo 2013

One guy we talked to says he does this same display of squash every year at the expo! He said he only had two avalanches this year while he was building it!  😀

The Food Alley offered a various smorgasbord of organic, non-GMO based foods from the local area.  Vegan to non-vegan, snacks to full meals.  We ended up having delicious black bean tamales with salsa and corn chips!  We almost got the Pad-Thai, but the plate was so big we weren’t sure we would be able to eat it all. I wish I had a picture, but then, I don’t want to make you jealous! 😉

We also attended more talks and workshops on Wednesday.  We saw the last half of a talk by John Jeavons about Food for the Future, and saw Bob Quinn when he gave his speech about Comparing Ancient and Modern Wheat.  Of all the talks/speeches we attended, I think we learned the most from Mr. Quinn.  We are now more motivated than ever to grow our own wheat crop using ancient wheat.  Did you know that all you need is a 30′ x 10′ piece of land to grow wheat, and you will reap enough wheat to make one loaf of bread every week for a year?  So, if I stretch the wheat using my 1,2,3 flour (acorn, almond, and wheat flour), I should have enough wheat to make 1 loaf of bread, 1 batch of cornbread and at least 1 meal of pasta every week for one year!

2014 National Heirloom Expo

This was Bob Quinn giving a talk about ancient versus modern wheat. Sorry the picture isn’t better, but it was dark so we could see the slide show.

We also attended a very informational class about Biodynamic Composting, given by Colum Riley of Malibu Compost.  He gave us several tips to help our compost reach at least 131 degrees for 8 days – which is necessary to kill weed seeds and pathogens – so it will be safe for the vegetable garden and ultimately the dinner plate!  Our first purchase for our compost pile will be some aeration tubes!

I wanted to stay for the Rooster Crowing Semi-Finals, but we were exhausted and had a long drive home!

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