The National Heirloom Expo

We went. We saw. We drooled. We had a fantastic time at the Heirloom Expo. We ended up not seeing nearly as many workshops as we wanted to due to time allowance. We did see two – Dr. Vandana Shiva’s talk and Gardening with and for Chickens by Pat Foreman (author of City Chicks). It was a disappointment that Dr. Shiva couldn’t be there in person, but it was a good talk. Unfortunately the chicken class didn’t really talk much about gardening with and for them. Ms. Foreman talked briefly about chicken tractors and using them for creating soil but mostly it was about composting and food security.

My absolute favorite part of the expo was the exhibition hall. When walking in you’re greeted by this giant mountain of squash and melons (picture at top). There’s a river of heirloom tomatoes and displays of more varieties of apples (photo below) than you can ever think possible. I wish we had gotten into the exhibition hall earlier so we could taste more varieties of apples.

I do wish that the biodynamic area was larger and that there were more booths in general. It would have also been nice to see more animals there. Lots of small livestock (turkeys, chickens, rabbits) but very few large livestock. Just a few goats and pigs, 3 cows and 1 horse. I would have really liked to have seen some draft horses because of their historic ties to agriculture. There were quite a few sheep though. I believe this was probably due to the timing of the expo being in the middle of the week. People are always questioning this choice to not have it on the weekends, but it’s because of religious reasons (Seventh Day Adventists) that they don’t do it. If you’re familiar with the Seed Bank in Petaluma, it’s not open on Saturdays for the same reason. So why not have the expo on Sunday or Friday? Because Saturday would then have to be used for set up or break down. So the middle of the week is it. I do hope that it continues to be more successful every year. People should try to take the time to visit if they can. I’ll be checking it out again next year.

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