Shake The Hand That Feeds You… 2nd Food & Farmers Expo A Big Hit

By Nancy Smith, secretary, Farm to Family Naturally

An array of delicious food awaited eager attendees at the Second Annual Food and Farmers Expo held at the Webster Groves Recreational Complex September 18. Foodies, locavores and folks who just wanted to “shake the hands that feed them” were standing in line long before the doors opened at 10 am.

This second “F&F” Expo had a wider selection of food than the first, with every booth filled to the brim with wonderful produce, meats and products, as well as some gardening and cooking supplies, too. Several farmers’ groups were well represented; with Ellisville Farmers Market, Missouri Organic Association, Webster Groves Farmers Market and Earthdance Farms staffed with volunteer farmers and gardeners. Melons abounded at some of the booths. A farm with the catchy name of “3 Girls and a Tractor” was showcasing an enormous Charleston Gray watermelon, and Mystic Foods had lovely piles of Honey Pearl honeydews fresh from the fields.

Sappington Farmers Market again had an entire wall of booths, chock full of samples and delicious locally-produced fruits and vegetables, meat products and specialty items. Wenwood Farms Winery poured samples of their quality wine. Whole Foods Market had samples of fresh apple cider being poured by the farmer who grew the apples.

Dogtown Pizza kept everyone happy with bounteous pizza samples and Todd Geisert Farms provided tasty samples of bratwurst and other sausages. Gringo Salsa and Mandip were the “hot wall” with spicy treats. Del Carmen black bean products and Ah Zeefa bean dip from Sine Berhanu gave evidence that truly healthy food tastes awesome!

Maplewood Richmond Heights schools’ chef Robert Rusan once again brought his talented students to serve some of the delicious foods they prepare for the school cafeterias. This year, they were joined by St. Louis University’s department of dietetics. This department has been the driving force behind the effort to get fresh farm food into local schools. Aided by Congressman Carnahan’s office and Farm to Family Naturally, many thousands of pounds of Missouri farm products now make their way into several local school district cafeterias.

Workshops and presentations were well attended throughout the day. Most of them involved growing food and preserving food. There were workshops on preserving the herb harvest; canning, freezing and drying in the home kitchen and natural soil amendments. An upcycled fashion show during the noon hour was a big hit and the first presentation on the upcoming St. Louis food hub attracted many interested listeners.

Festival-goers have been graciously expressing their gratitude for the opportunity to meet such skilled and dedicated food producers and many of the farmers and producers themselves have mentioned what a fun and exciting day it was for them. Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food became a reality for many people at the Expo, and opened up a whole new reality for families who are concerned about their food supply.

Look for the 3rd Annual Food & Farmers Expo to be even bigger and better next year!