A Celebration of Heirloom Vegetables

comments (1) September 13th, 2016

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WesternGardener Jodi Torpey, contributor
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The gourd tower is one of the highlights in the exposition building. Built around stacks of hay bales, the tower reaches almost to the ceiling of the tall hall and includes hundreds of pounds of colorful gourds. The fruits are donated to local food pantries, schools and churches after the event is over.
Giant vegetables were in the spotlight at the National Heirloom Expo. The winning pumpkin, Leonardo, topped the scale at 1387 pounds. Other giant vegetables included watermelons and long gourds.
One of the nicest features of the produce displays was that every variety had a label. That meant hundreds of labels for peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, squashes, watermelons and more. People made notes of the varieties theyd like to try to grow in their own gardens next season.
A special display by the California Rare Fruit Growers Association showed off heirloom apples. Many of these apples date to the 1800s and originated in different parts of the country. It was an eye-opening experience for people who were unfamiliar with so many different kinds of apples.
Also on display were pens of heirloom sheep. These Navajo-Churro sheep are the oldest domestic breed of sheep in the U.S 
The exposition hall is filled with tables of heirloom fruits and vegetables. Visitors walk down each aisle to admire vegetable and fruit varieties they have never seen before. In addition to the vast produce displays, theres an art show, sponsored by Hudson Valley Seed Library, and an American Dahlia Society dahlia show. 
As part of the International Heirloom Conference, I presented a program on Blue Ribbon Vegetable Gardening and also moderated this panel on giant vegetable growing with Ian Neale and Kevin Fortey from the U.K. 
Expo visitors had a chance to relax in the shade and be entertained by a line-up of first-rate singers and musicians, like crowd-favorite Sourdough Slim.
Vendors at the Heirloom Expo peddled their wares, like this pink tool pouch from Rosies Workwear for Women.
The gourd tower is one of the highlights in the exposition building. Built around stacks of hay bales, the tower reaches almost to the ceiling of the tall hall and includes hundreds of pounds of colorful gourds. The fruits are donated to local food pantries, schools and churches after the event is over.Click To Enlarge

The gourd tower is one of the highlights in the exposition building. Built around stacks of hay bales, the tower reaches almost to the ceiling of the tall hall and includes hundreds of pounds of colorful gourds. The fruits are donated to local food pantries, schools and churches after the event is over.

Photo: Jodi Torpey

The National Heirloom Exposition is an exceptional, one-of-a-kind event.

It's an international Expo for pure food enthusiasts, home growers, farmers, school groups and anyone else who loves fresh, non-GMO foods. The Expo, started by the founder of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, is now in its sixth year as a non-profit that benefits children's and school programs throughout the year.

Held annually at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, Calif., the Expo features the largest display of heirloom vegetables imaginable, over 75 national and international speakers, hundreds of vendors, live music, and plenty of garden-fresh fare. Thousands of people come from all over the world to see the amazing gourd tower, take in the tables loaded with unusual produce, and marvel at the heirloom breeds of livestock.

One of the goals of the Expo is to help more folks appreciate our country's agricultural heritage, especially when it comes to maintaining a healthy supply of heirloom seeds for future generations.

A special kids pavilion is filled with exhibits and activities that make learning fun. School groups learn about the food supply, see bees at work and get their hands dirty making seed balls to take home and plant. 

Three days isn't enough time to experience everything the Expo has to offer because there's so much to see and do. The photo tour gives just a taste of one of the most delicious and important harvest events in the world.


After you try it, show it off to other members in the
gardener's gallery.
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Comments (1)

Zacionafalidaa writes: wow… its awesome
Posted: 1:40 am on October 13th
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