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Lifely Products at the National Heirloom Food Exposition

Debra Redalia

The Exhibitor's Hall at the National Heirloom Food Exposition in Santa Rosa, California.

 

On Tuesday Larry and I spent most of the day at the National Heirloom Food Exposition, one of our most favorite events. Fortunately, it is held right near us in Santa Rosa, California, but people come from all over the country, and indeed, all over the world, to learn about the purest food on Earth.

Everything focuses on food, from seeds to organic growing methods to fully grown produce. Displays include a mountain of gourds and melons, tables and tables of unusual heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables, tastings of watermelons and tomatoes, and art related to food, including the carving of fruits, vegetables, and even seeds. Local seed producers have tables full of fruits and vegetables grown from their seeds so you can see what the seeds you buy will produce. And it all focuses on heirloom and heritage foods, not a hybrid or GMO food in sight.

Food stalls sell prepared handmade foods made from local heirloom ingredients—just so delicious.

Not an industrial anything in sight. Just food in it’s most natural state possible and hand and love.

There was so much to see and do, we couldn’t possibly see and do everything, but I want to tell you about just a few of my favorite products, as examples of what a Lifely product might be. I’m working on making guidelines for defining Lifely products. This is only a beginning, but it’s a start to look at existing products and their Lifely qualities.

I'm giving the websites for these businesses so you can get more information about them, but some don't ship. And that’s part of the point. They are small local producers that sell their wares mostly at fairs and farmer’s markets and local clientele. No shipping, some don’t even take credit cards.

Golden State Pickle Works gets my vote for the most out-of-this-world product. Sam makes cultured and fermented pickles and salad dressings. I have to say her salad dressings are way beyond any salad dressing you’ve ever eaten. She starts with cream cheese that she cultures herself and then adds cultured vegetables instead of vinegar. Wow. The flavor is so alive! We bought Creamy Ranch with fresh dill, Peanut Sauce with fermented ginger, and a Blue Cheese dip/dressing (made with her cultured cream cheese, our local Point Reyes blue cheese, and fermented celery root). When we came home we put the ranch dressing just on chopped organic tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers and we couldn’t eat them fast enough. The dressing made all the vegetables taste alive! This totally changed our idea of what a salad dressing could and should be. Sam also sells salts, which are the dehydrated fermentation liquid to which salt was added, recapturing the original salt, which now contains the added probiotics.

WHAT MAKES THIS A LIFELY PRODUCT:
* All ingredients that are available organic are organic, others are non-GMO.
* Fermented to add probiotics and make the food more alive and easier to digest.
* Local business sells to local community only.
* Independently-owned business.
* Entrepreneur doing what she loves.
* The product enhances the materials used to make it, adding more “life,”
* Contains the love and enthusiam of the maker.

Tierra Vegetables caught my eye with a big basket of gorgeous red tomatoes that turned out to be grown from seed carried by hand from Italy. But they also grow a variety of ingredient for making Mexican food, including heirloom chilis and corn. They also make their own heirloom masa and when I inquired about it, the farmer offered to teach me how to make tortillas and tamales! I will certainly be going to their farm to see what they are selling at their farmstead and to get some heirloom masa and learn how to use it.

WHAT MAKES THIS A LIFELY PRODUCT:
* Local organic farm.
* Grows a variety of vegetables and raises shetland sheep. "In addition to growing diversified and unique market crops and some of the sweetest strawberries in the county, the farmers also specialize in a vast array of chiles and sweet peppers, dried beans, and dried corn varieties for popcorn, cornmeal and masa.” [I can’t wait to go visit this farm.]
* Educates customers to have more cooking skills to prepare unfamiliar foods.
* Keeping traditional foods available and their traditional preparation methods.
* Enthusiasm for what they are doing.

The Philosopher’s Stoneground makes a small collection of organic sprouted almond and coconut butters, both smooth and crunchy and one with chocolate. I actually found them last year at this same expo. I took one bite of their crunchy almond butter and was speechless. Tears came to my eyes. I had to hug Tim. And for the past year, I have purchased a jar of their crunchy almond butter every week and I eat it with a spoon just right out of the jar every day. It just does something for my body. Almost immediately. Tom remembered me and another hug, of course. He invited me to come see their factory in Santa Cruz and I will be going. This almond butter is just above-and-beyond. I really get Tim’s intention to nourish me with his nut butters.

WHAT MAKES THIS A LIFELY PRODUCT:
* Nuts are sourced from orchards that practice regenerative agriculture.
* Stoneground
* "We use dry-farmed Spanish almonds for all of our sprouted almond butters. This allows us to use truly raw, unpasteurized almonds, and to support water-sustainable, ecologically-appropriate agriculture."
* Nourishing people and regenerating the earth at the same time.
* Love for life really shines through.

I think you can start to get an idea of the features I am looking for that result in a product that supports life. Of course, all of these products are free from toxic chemicals as well, but they are more than “doing no harm", they also are supporting and regenerating life.

I’ll be writing more about what constitutes a Lifely product…I just wanted to give you some examples today so you can see where I am going with this.

Welcome to Lifely!

Quite simply, this blog is about orienting ourselves and our lives to Life, instead of orienting ourselves and our lives to industrial consumerism. Here we are sharing our own journey. You come too. Read more...

Debra & Larry Redalia
lifepartners + soulmates

For more than 30 years we have been delving into the nature and activities of life together. Indeed, this has been and continues to be the very reason we are together. With delight, we research, explore, observe, and even wake each other up in the middle of the night to discuss how life functions and how we can function as life—even while living in the modern world. We each are different from the norm, but we are different in the same way, so we have been able to think outside of the ordinary together and find the extraordinary workings of life.

Read more about us…
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