Or… my weekend at the Fair.
The Mother Earth News Fair.
The REALLY BIG Mother Earth News Fair.
Capsule review: it rocked!
For the full story, read on…
I embarked Thursday, Sept 22, from northern Vermont, travelling with my buddy/Gourmet Butcher colleague Karen. No biggie – just a twelve-hour drive to Seven Springs PA, the site of the Fair. Well, not actually Seven Springs; we had decided to stay in the town of Somerset, since the Fair venue was fully booked.
Twelve hours on the road sucks – but you already knew that, didn’t you? Why is it that the only road food one can purchase involves starch, grease or sugar? This is a rhetorical question, you understand. But here’s a thought ... how hard would it be for any of those repulsive gas station/snack bar/in ‘n out places to have a barrel of fresh apples beside the counter? Or ask the people who supply them with those soggy pale beige squished mystery meat sandwiches wrapped in cellophane to consider adding something green? ( I’m not referring to the color of the meat here.)
EAT HERE. Or not.
Moving on … here’s a photo of the view from our hotel. You gasp in wonder. So did we.
Next day, early, here I am shopping for the ingredients to use in the recipe I planned to demo at my presentation. It’s called Pig in a Flanket, and if you’re really good, I’ll give it to you. Here I am waiting for my fresh pork tenderloin.
And here I am in ecstasy after a long search for roasted peppers.
Saturday – we got up early and set off for the Fair. This is on the road to Seven Springs at about 7 am.
And here’s the booth. And me, smiling happily because it’s early and my feet don’t hurt yet.
And our next-door booth pals – sitting down, so their feet don’t hurt either. These guys were great, by the way – you ought to check them out – they offer a free classified ad service. See the picture? Pennswoods.net.
Wow, this event is big.
Featuring an extremely interesting program of events, on something like 13 stages, if I counted correctly. All happening at the same time.
My presentation took place at 6 pm on the first day – Saturday – on the Eating Well stage.
Since 45 minutes is a just a little too short to butcher a complete cow (ya think?), I demonstrated my Pig in a Flanket, then talked back and forth with the folks about some of the issues we all care intensely about. Like …
IS THERE REALLY ANY BENEFIT IN LOCALLY-RAISED MEAT?
WHAT IS "GRASS-FED" BEEF? AND IS IT BETTER THAN GRAIN-FED?
CAN I TRUST MY SUPERMARKET FOR GOOD MEAT?
HOW CAN I FEED MY FAMILY FOR LESS?
IS HOME BUTCHERING REALLY FEASIBLE?
HOW DO I FIND A GOOD BUTCHER?
We even sold some Gourmet Butcher DVDs. Here I am autographing (!!!) one for a lovely couple who seem to have mistaken me for Brad Pitt.
One of the highlights for me personally was meeting up with fellow butcher Matt Wilkinson, who spoke about raising and butchering your own animals. We mesh so well (thinking Mutt and Jeff here) that we’ve decided to develop a special workshop in which we’ll take you through the entire raising-to-slaughtering-to-butchering-to-gourmet meals process.We'd love your feedback on this ... would it interest you? Would you come?
So that’s my Mother Earth News Fair experience in a nutshell.
A special shout-out to the wonderful people who created, curated, designed and managed the event, as well as to my new friends:
Cheryl Long, Editor in Chief, Mother Earth News
Robin Mather, Senior Associate Editor, Mother Earth News
K.C. Compton, Editor in Chief, The Herb Companion