*Click here for a complete list of all vendors at Artisanal LA
This weekend I attended the Artisanal LA show at the LA Mart in Downtown Los Angeles. Artisanal LA is a seasonal (Spring and Fall) “pop-up community event” where you can find hip and innovative food producers, non-profits, artists, craftsman, gardeners, and even clothing designers. Most of these vendors do not sell their items in stores or even farmers markets. So for all of you savvy and conscious shoppers who are looking for unique products that are sustainable and produced and sourced locally, Artisanal LA is definitely an event you do not want to miss.
My main reason for attending the Artisanal LA show was to scope out the situation since I am considering having my own booth for the Gaia Goodness Banana Mango Ketchup at a future show. I was impressed by the layout and organization from the registration process to the placement of the booths. The space was open and easy to navigate and peruse each vendors booth. Although I was there on official business, I couldn’t help but get swept up in the festivities and do a little shopping too.
On top of shopping for great artisanal food products and other handcrafted goodies, I attended one of several cooking demos, panels and workshops offered throughout the entire weekend. I was only able to attend Saturday for a few hours, and lucked up on catching the Growing Edible Flowers presentation given by Hank Jenkins of Plant Provocateur. Wow! This guy really knows his stuff. Be sure to check out his blog The Plant Provocateur and grab his book Container Gardening, it’s filled with great tips and information for starting your own urban garden.
There were other workshops I was itching to attend but due to a time crunch I couldn’t, like Edible Weeds & Foraging Around LA with Emily Ho, Food Photography 101 with Ryan Tanaka, Creating an Edible Landscape with Sian Seligman of Sow Swell, Bugs Today, Bugs Tomorrow with Chirp Farms, and The Bee Friendly Garden with Christy Wilhelmi. I’ll be sure to follow these guys around the internet for sure and possibly catch a presentation at a later date.
Ok let’s get to the goodies I picked up at this awesome event.
First up, is the Persimmon Butter from Fallen Fruit From Rising Women, of the Crossroads Social Enterprise. This is a social business birthed in the food justice community. All proceeds from the sale of their products go back into the food justice program at Crossroads. Not only is the Persimmon Butter and gourmet specialty salts absolutely delicious, it is made from actual fallen fruit and herbs donated by local residents from their backyards. The products are made by the hands of college interns and women who participate in the Crossroads Transitional Living program. I give this product two thumbs up for innovation and community building.
Next is Cold Brewed Coffee from Outpost. Outpost cold brews Brazilian coffee for 24 hours, “and the result is a coffee drink that’s less bitter and acidic with more caffeine.” (Outpost Coffee, 2014). I must concur. This coffee is delish! It’s got a caramel after taste and goes down smooth. I blended half of a 12 oz. bottle with some almond milk and coconut palm sugar. Yum!! This is perfect on hot summer mornings when you want that boost but not a piping hot cup of Joe. I definitely recommend grabbing a bottle or a six pack. It’s darn good. Outpost gets two thumbs as well.
If you are a Kombucha lover like me, then you will definitely enjoy Health Ade’s Kombucha in a variety of flavors. I picked up the California Grape flavor which was very tasty. Though the serving size is 2 per bottle, I was able to get 4 servings out of mine. The thing I like most about Health Ade’s approach to making Kombucha is their use of seasonal fruits and UV resistant bottles that can be reused. This ensures that the fermentation process is completely stunted, unless of course you leave the bottle sitting outside in the hot sun. I give this company two thumbs up.
My next stop was at Wilderess Natural Soy Candles and Accessories. I am obsessed with candles and I was able to find some very fresh scented all natural soy candles that burn clean and fill my home with aromatic scents that make me want to draw a bath and put on some good music. I purchased the Rose and Driftwood 20 hour burning candles. Some other fragrances included Brown Sugar, Oak and Amber and Sweet Tobacco, all of which smell absolutely decadent. Wilderess puts the cherry on top by including a little note in your bag on how you can reuse their containers. Definite two thumbs up for being environmentally conscious.
The last of the goodies I snagged was some organic vegetable seeds from Sow Swell, an urban farming design center that supplies all of your urban gardening tools and materials. I picked up rainbow Swiss chard, Heirloom Cherokee purple tomato, cumber, fennel, and Heirloom purple plum radish seeds. I can’t wait to get these seedlings started.