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Green Festival Chicago 2014 and New Fave Companies!

Have you entered to win 2 free entries to a US Spartan race AND a variety box of Quest Bars?? Well, then, WHY NOT??? Hurry, before it is too late!

Roy G Biv, there is so much to tell you all about (did you like that? I decided to take a brief break from the regular exclamations haha. Yes, I was an art class nerd. Get over it.).

First, I want to say OORAH and Congratulations to all that ran the Marine Corps Marathon yesterday, and to celebrate my own one year anniversary of running the same race last year, my very first marathon! Just to name a few: Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes; Mar @ Mar on the Run (putting the MAR in MARine MARathon); Gabi @ Lean Green Island Girl; Nevie @ Writing Reading Running; Ericka @ Sweet Life Ericka. I know that there are so many more–PLEASE give yourself a shout out in the comments!

Second I want to say congrats to everyone ELSE that raced this weekend. I have to should out to the MCM’rs, because, you know, it was my first (blush), but every one else–if you are putting out the effort, I hope you are so freaking proud of yourself. Working out, 5k’s (Piper), Half marathons (Ange), 10 milers (those folks down there in ATL), training for your future–be proud, hang tough, believe.

Thanks, Katie!

Thanks, Katie!

Kay, so now, I want to dive right into a recap of one event in particular that occurred during my weekend:Green Festival Chicago 2014.

green festival chicago 1

Or…. “That day when I went and pretended to be a serious blogger and hawked myself.”

So many companies and products to tell you about, but we are going to start with a general overview, and then I will talk about the companies in more detail (and how I’ve got ideas for how all of this can benefit you!) in the next few weeks.

So, The Green Festival is a three-day celebration of all things organic and sustainable, from lifestyle (and even death–clean cremation, for those who are interested), food, clothing, kids… all sorts of stuff. The Festival takes place in 3 cities across the US, and I was honored that Erin of Norm’s Farms thought to invite me to come and check it all out!

green festival chicago 2

I, of course, concentrated on the food aspects of things. Though I’m sure Zoe would love some sustainable litter, that ain’t happening. And though I’m sure the chiropractors are very good at their jobs, hands off. You know me, I like to focus on foods that are a) appealing to myself, b) have something quirky or off-beat about them (like moi, as well), c) have a good vibe, and are people, not corporation, driven, and BONUS have local roots. I like it when people believe in their product and developed it because they love what they do and they perceive that they are filling a niche or void.

As I said, I am going to give you a rough overview of the companies that really stuck out to me, as well as mention some other vendors that were there that I previously knew and therefore spent less time on:

Companies that you all may already know:

green festival chicago daiya

  • Nuttzo
  • Vitamix
  • Two Moms
  • Beanfields
  • Clifbar
  • Daiya (vegan cheese products)
  • Ezekiel Bread

Companies that I am really excited to introduce to you:

Erin from Norm's in action.

Erin from Norm’s in action.

As I said, Erin was my reason for being there (and Erica, as I was introduced to Norm’s Farms by her). I recently reviewed their Elderberry Blueberry Jam, I got to try the Elderberry Ginger Pecan Jam that Erica reviewed (swoon), and I have also tried their Elderberry Jam before (on a crusty bread that ish is the bomb). I finally got to try the Elderberry Extract, and I am already dreaming of all the ways to use it. Erica in particular had a suggestion for a certain way of utilizing the extract, and don’t worry, the wheels are already a-turning. I’m also really excited because Erin and I live/work in the same area, so we can keep up this dialogue and work together in the future! Her mom and I are actually going to work on some recipes together in the near future, too!

green festival chicago halo

Ocean’s Halo was totally new to me, but you know that I love me a seaweed snack. And these are basically like a seaweed snack having a baby with a lentil crisp, and then with seasoning. Great flavors (there are 4, reviews to come!), high in fiber and protein, low in sugar, large serving size… yes, yes, yes. And Leslie, the local rep, is a doll, and was so fabulous.

green festival chicago badass power cookie

My first impressions of this station: A) John is a fine man, and tall. B) It is called Badass, must investigate C), um, it is kinda green. Relax, it is just Spirulina that gives the cookie/bar it’s dusty green coloring. Otherwise? It tastes like a cocoa-oatmeal cookie. Quite tasty, not overwhelming chocolate flavor, and I especially loved the oaty texture and nuttiness. A bit crumbly, but to me it is just begging for some greek yogurt to be sprinkled over top of. Vegan, Gluten free, no protein powders, and sweetened with a sugar/stevia blend called Lil’ Shuga (no joke). This is a winner if you need dense training calories (cough, marathoners, cough).

CobraCorn_HomePage_Packs_0_0

Mihir was awesome, and I love that this is his product, based on his mother’s snack recipes from when he was growing up. The Bombay Seasoning is all flavor, spice, warmth, and just the right amount of heat. The Himilayan Mountain salt is just the perfect bite of airy salty popcorn. I am really sad that the 3rd flavor, CARAMEL CHAI, was recently pulled from production because of not selling well. Um, I could have kept that in business. Mihir is working on some rebranding for his line and a whole new slew of flavors and products, to debut next year. Look out for this stuff, guys!

green festival chicago organic matters

Orion, Jaden, and Akeisha are a trio of siblings who are making a name for themselves in gluten free, vegan, organic, and (soon-to-be-certified) non-GMO snacks. I am going to talk about these guys more in depth in another post, but remember the faux bacon that I talked about a few weeks back? This is a suitable challenger. Loved the product and their packaging (you’ll see, but the vegan “bacon” has a pig on a beach with a coconut)? They are working on making their product more mass-manufacturing friendly–not compromising any ingredients, but rather manipulating packaging to increase shelf life, as there are no preservatives. Love these guys and their mission.

green festival chicago living intentions

Julie and her partner are awesome. Living Intentions uses sprouted grains and nuts in their line of trail mixes, superfood cereals, salad boosters, and, my favorite, their 11 flavors of “Gone Nuts” nut and spice blends. The flavors are spot on and sing–wait till I tell you more, I could go on about them for a loooong time. But I will mention a few to start: Lemon Thai Curry Cashews (these were unreal), and Maple Mesquite Walnuts. Variety and flavors for all, and executed admirably.

green festival chicago manna organic

Remember that jar of $13 nut butter that I showed you all a while back? Well, these are the guys behind them. After spending a bit more time looking at their selection and hearing a bit more about it, I can justify the price a bit more, especially with flavors like Sriracha Cashew and Dark Chocolate Pecan and Cookie Dough and no sugar added flavors as well. They also have a sprouted grain bakery line and chips! More to come on them as well!

I could go on and on about the vendors, but I am going to cut it off for now. It was a great way to spend a Saturday morning, which I followed up with lunch (and an awesome new lunch sandwich combo for you) and a run in my Newtons (love) and then some studying.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Have you ever gone to a trade show/expo like this (That wasn’t part of a race, haha), and what are you big pull vendors when you go? 

Which companies are excited to learn more about?

What did you have for lunch on Saturday?

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