I had a wonderful time. I volunteered to help out all day, arranging tables, helping vendors unpack, finding tape/chairs/carts, helping vendors pack up again, and helping clear the facility at the end of the day. In between, I got the chance to chat up the vendors, try a few samples, and reconnect with many of my celiac friends. It was great to see so many people enjoying themselves. We had almost 30 different vendors, and about 250 people showed up. I had the opportunity to talk to the mother of a young girl (about 5 years old) with celiac disease. She was nearly crying as she told me how wonderful it was to be in a room full of food her daughter could eat. I’m about to start crying right now, just remembering it.
Some of the highlights of the event for me were: getting to talk to Faye of Gluten Free For Me! fame (check out her blog!), meeting Anna from Breads From Anna (she’s very sweet, and a fellow midwesterner), and discovering some gluten-free brands I had not heard of, including Fast & Fresh, Andean Dream, Everybody Eats, and Cosi Duci Bakery (in Boca Raton!).
I couldn’t try many of the food samples from the fair, due to my other intolerances, but I did get a good look at what’s out there. How pathetic is this – I was surrounded by literally mounds of fabulous gluten-free food, and I had to bring a Larabar to munch on! Oh well, David, who was there to volunteer also, assured me everything was yummy.
One thing I did get to try, and ended up purchasing, was the Fast & Fresh Hamburger Buns. I normally do all my own baking, but buns are a little more effort than I’m generally willing to put forth. This mix was worthy of purchase because A) I can tolerate all the ingredients and B) they are microwavable, so the can be baked after the burgers go on the grill. No kidding, they’re microwavable! And pretty darn tasty, I might add. Naturally, now that I’ve had them, I’m going to try to duplicate the recipe. I’ll let you know if I am successful. But in the meantime, I know where I can buy the mix.
My personal thanks goes out to Lisa LaMendola, for planning and executing this event. She had a lot of us worker-bee types to help with the grunt labor, but I know Lisa took on all the responsibility and did the bulk of the work, and I can’t thank her enough for everything! And of course, thanks to the Palm Beach County Celiac Support Group and the Celiac Disease Foundation for sponsoring the Vendor Fair.
Looking forward to next year’s Vendor Fair!