This past Saturday, I did something that was very unusual for me: I made a spontaneous trip over to Northampton, MA to check out Valley Vegfest. A friend from the Albany Vegan Network turned me on to it and I thought heck, why not? I never up and do stuff like that. I’m more the type who needs a week’s advanced notice and three days to plan what I’m going to eat. But Northampton is rife with vegan food, so with that part covered, off I went!
There were so many amazing vendors packed in a small space that I couldn’t tell you everyone I met and spoke with, but there were a few fun (and tasty!) highlights:
- raw “onion rings” from Raw Food Central
- spicy cashew “cheese” from Nuttin Ordinary
- raw chocolate energy balls from Superfresh! Organic Cafe
- vegan-themed t-shirts from Troy Cloth & Paper (whose shop is, incidentally, located on the same street as the farmer’s market I shop at)
- chai spiced lip balm–on sale!–from the Vegan Beauty Boutique
- vegan soft serve from the Like No Udder truck
I could go on and on about the soft serve in particular. The last time I had vegan soft serve was at Green when my mom and I were in Arizona several years ago. And soft serve, I must admit, is one of those “indulgence” foods that I miss from time to time. Having it again after so long was EPIC, I must say. And the folks at Like No Udder were able to give me calorie and ingredient information for EVERYTHING, which satisfied the OCD part of me that needs things like that.
It turns out that veg fests are also great places to meet people! One of the featured speakers was none other than Hannah Kaminsky, author of several beautiful cookbooks like Vegan Desserts and Vegan Pie in the Sky. She has quite the impressive resume overall, which puts her on my list of People I Want To Be When I Grow Up. I got a chance to chat with her after her talk and she’s a sweetheart. She was kind enough to sign my copy of Vegan Desserts and didn’t look at me strangely when I had a happy freakout over the picture of the windmill cookie on the front of her pie book. (Almond windmill cookies have nostalgic value for me.)
I also met Melissa of Ecolissa.com! We’ve chatted before on Twitter and she’s a lot of fun to talk with in person. Her shop features a nice selection of vegan and eco-friendly clothes and accessories, including these adorable owl earrings from Green Tree Jewelry.
I didn’t know this at the time, but everything from Green Tree is made from sustainable wood with chemical-free dyes. They make a ton of different earring styles like flowers, animals, geometric shapes and even mythical creatures like mermaids. (Ecolissa.com is actually having a promo right now where you can enter to win a pair of Green Tree Jewelry earrings, which is pretty awesome.) Seeing as I have several holes in each ear to accommodate dangly jewelry, I’m always on the lookout for groovy new finds like this.
I’m not sure I was completely prepared for the several hours worth of driving that it took to get to Northampton and back, but all in all it was a good day. I came home with some tasty treats and a fun new shirt, plus I had a little time to walk around town and stop at my favorite stores. The only thing I didn’t do was take pictures–oops!
What do you like best about veg/vegan events?