Last Tuesday I grabbed my friend Nancy and headed up to Santa Rosa for the opening day of the third annual National Heirloom Exposition at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. This three-day extravaganza of food, speakers, vendors, and amazing exhibits is the perfect place for foodies and farmers to geek out on unique and exotic heirloom produce of all kinds.
Local entrepreneur Paul Wallace, who owns The Petaluma Seed Bank, is the force behind this “World’s Fair” of the heirloom industry. Funds generated from the non-profit event are donated to local school gardens and food programs.
This was my second year attending the event, and it never fails to impress. Favorite highlights included perusing the huge exhibit hall packed with long tables of heirloom variety fruits and veggies (who knew there were so many!), a giant pumpkin display and weigh-off contest, chef demonstrations including award-winning master food carver Chef Ray Duey who creates stunning works of art from produce, livestock exhibits, a flower show, and more gourmet food vendors than you can shake a stick at!
Once again, Mac Condill of Illinois-based Homestead Seeds built an incredible tower of pumpkins, squash, and gourds at the entrance to the Exhibit Hall–similar to displays he created to grace the lawn of the White House.
This event is truly a visual feast! I hope you will enjoy this collage of photos that captured some memorable moments.