But I digress. Yesterday we set out for the Expo, first driving to Hunt Valley, MD, and jumping on the Light Rail which took us directly across the street from the convention center, thereby allowing us to skip the city traffic AND the parking hassle and expense.
This was Molly's first Expo. Maryanne and I attended the first east Expo when we were just preparing to open our fulltime shop back in the early 90's. People starting businesses since the world wide web came into being have NO idea how difficult it was to find new and innovative products back then. The only way was to travel to shows. We'd attended several gift type shows looking for "our" products, but weren't finding the right stuff. The Expo almost brought us to tears! Aisles and aisles of hippy families with their own products. Larger businesses with tinctures, essential oils, supplements, and incenses. It was Nirvana.
Just a couple years later, it was changed. The atmosphere is much different. Few and far between are the hippy families. But so goes the world, I suppose. Just happy to have been there in the beginning.
As we approached the center, there was music, and one vendor selling a joint supplement based on turmeric (HUGE this year, and in many products, beverages, foods, etc.) and collegen had people in gold lame jumpsuits dancing energetically. It was an interesting welcome. Unfortunately, we didn't take nearly enough pictures.
Inside, there are glass cases filled with tiny displays from many of the vendors, to serve as an appetizer.
Speaking of which, drinks are really, really big. Mostly water flavored or with nutrients or probiotics added, we sampled at least a dozen. Some of them were pretty good. The blackberry chia was tasty, but we couldn't help calling it "goo." My favorite of them all was Caribe.
|A TINY sampling of the drink companies. There was also an excellent natural soda company, but I missed getting their paperwork.|
|Display of ginseng roots and various value added products at the Wisconsin Co-op booth.|
|A variety of manuka honey candies.|
The people from Jelly Belly were there with their new organic line. There, we discussed the fact that, at 4 calories per bean, it was almost a negative calorie food... like celery! We left laughing, but I have to say that the new line of jelly beans aren't as good. Kind of gritty.
I also want to give a shout-out to Superseedz, a gourmet pumpkin seed company. The man who was passing out packet of seeds found a way to flirt sweetly without being obnoxious, and at my age that's worth something. Really tasty dry roasted pepitas, too!
There were too many cold brewed coffees to sample (Molly said they were overly milked so you couldn't taste the coffee), and there was chocolate in many forms everywhere. We steered away just out of habit. I'm sure it was great. Those two items were ubiquitous at the show. Teas, particularly matcha were also everywhere.
|Some of my favorite places. Chimes has several new flavors of ginger treats. There go my teeth!|
I found it very interesting. There were a few booths dedicated to new kinds of sweeteners - especially monk fruit. There were a couple of companies devoted to Jackfruit because of its nutritional and health benefits. It is prepared mostly as a savory snack (that we saw).
Molly's impression: "Definitely interesting, all the paleo, gluten free, organic, sustainable natural products. I thought it was really neat that they were inclusive to everyone's needs but also loved that there were still simple products as well. As much as I loved the grass fed, organic empanadas I was thrilled to pick up a regular black coffee and bagel. Oh and the crackers made with cricket flour - Chirps - were pretty good!"
Maryanne (and I as well) was sad to see that it was now almost entirely a grocery show.
So aside from the stack of bright new tote bags (and my old ones really have started to wear out...), I have some pretty nice swag to wade through.
A truly fascinating way to spend the day! Without exception, we were greeted in a friendly and welcoming manner.
Just a week or so earlier, I'd spent the train ride between Philadelphia and Atlantic City chatting with a man from Cocoatown who was on his way to the Fancy Food convention there. I'd hoped to see him or the company at the Expo, but I may have missed them if they were there.
We were so glad to be able to get on the train back to the car, rather than schlepping with our bags back to some distant parking lot. Molly was asleep almost as soon as we were in the car.