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Sacramento’s Gone to the Veggies

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On Saturday, the third annual Sacramento VegFest was held at the Artisan Building on Del Paso Boulevard.

Hundreds of visitors came to explore the world of vegetarian and vegan lifestyle alternatives, to check out new products and ideas, and to attend presentations by some top chefs in the healthy food movement.

Chef AJ demonstrates food preparation in the Artisan Theatre.

It was a happy crowd wending their way through the booths and displays on a sunny afternoon. Both guests and vendors were eager to share their enthusiasm for all things vegetarian.

The Sacramento Vegan Society had an information booth. So did the Sacramento Vegetarian Society, and representatives from both groups were careful to emphasize their particular focus, cautioning us not to confuse one with the other.

They are not rivals, or competitors; they are certainly friendly, recognizing that both groups are promoting a more healthful way of eating. But there are philosophical and practical differences between vegans and vegetarians, and the distinctions are important to both groups.

Vegans are ultra-vegetarians. They do not eat any animal products at all, including eggs, honey, or milk. Many vegans also eschew any other use of animal products, including leather, animal fat used in soaps or cleaning agents, or shampoos which include egg solids.

Vegetarians may be vegans, but in general they do not consume flesh or fowl—no fish, burgers, or chicken. But many vegetarians are likely to include eggs and dairy in their diets on a regular basis.

Mary Rodgers, a board member of the Sacramento Vegetarian Society, was pleased to point out that her organization is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year. “We work with the Grange, which is a wonderful organization. We were the first vegetarian advocacy grange in the nation.”

Both vegan and vegetarian options were well represented in the displays and vendor offerings at the VegFest. In fact, one very popular station, sponsored by caterer Mama Kim Cooks, offered tasty samples of foods prepared both ways: the crostini with pistachio-crusted goat cheese topped with an heirloom red beet salsa was also available without the cheese—and was absolutely delicious either way. Their red kuri squash soup was delightful plain, yet when topped with frothy maple cream, it was heavenly.

Mama Kim Cooks workers busy at preparing samples.

Not all of the displays offered food. Michelle McCarty operates Wonder Wormin’ Vermicomposting systems, promoting the use of compact, efficient home composting systems which use the services of red wiggler worms to turn your household scraps into high-potency plant food.

Wonder Wormin’ Vermicomposting Systems

Jillena Hernandez operates Eat Well, Live Free, a vegetarian food blog, and was handing out some very tasty chocolate oatmeal cookies from her mother-in-law’s recipe. “Our blog hopes to inspire people to eat more meatless meals and to support businesses who cater to our positive food choices,” Hernandez said.

V-Dog creates and sells healthy vegetarian dogfood. Never Felt Better is a midtown Sacramento store which sells grocieries, cookbooks, and other products in support of the vegan lifestyle.

V-Dog goodies.

The event was a success with both vendors and visitors. Said Lisa Chapman-Sorci, a teacher of mindfulness meditation , “People are exploring more than just the practice of vegetarian eating, it’s about the way you think about your food and your body. People here are very open, very curious and willing to learn.”

Veg Fest was sponsored by the Del Paso Boulevard Partnership. For more information about the participants, including links to their websites, visit http://sacvegfest.com/ .

The crowd ate its way through the vendors offering samples.
NACHEEZ offered cheese over chips.
Chocolate Truffles
Little Jimmy’s Italian Ices

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