Last week I attended my first garden expo ever, I'm planning to attend more, they're fun. With over 500 vendors, I was overwhelmed and honestly not expecting there to be SO many people knowing that it was going to rain. The trade show included many home vendors for cabinets, counters, blinds, roofing, etc. While I felt their weren't as many garden related vendors. I had 5 booths in mind that I wanted to stop and talk to whom I knew were going to be attending the event.
The photos of the vendors unfortunately are not my own, because I was respecting the no photography rule that the show had. I am using photos from each of the companies Facebook pages.
The first booth I stopped by was OOOOBy Fresno. Which is a fresh produce subscription box for the Madera/ Fresno area. I was interested to learn about the company and how it worked because I've been seeing these everywhere starting last year. Their popular and basically a version of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box. They work with farmers in a 150 mile radius of their own Madera Farm to provide a range of organic seasonal produce directly from farmers to the box that arrives on your door step. The have four boxes ranging from small to Oooober, that can go out every week, every other week, or one time.
Why I wanted to talk with them: Like I mentioned. I have been seeing CSA's and produce subscription boxes everywhere and I've been considering doing something very similar. I feel that a box would be a simple smaller scale way to reach my dream of owning a year round produce stand one day.
Second booth was right across the way. Hinkle's Honey. I spoke with John Hinkle about how he went from having a career as a heavy diesel mechanic to keeping bees. He's been keeping bees for 8 years. He and his family do all the work themselves with their headquarter right in Fresno. They keep the bees and collect the honey. He informed me that there are several local honey stands that do not keep their own bees. One of the things that I appreciated is that their honey is raw, meaning it hasn't been heated. I use local raw honey to cure my pollen allergies. This is the first year that I haven't had to take any allergy medication yet!
Why I wanted to talk with them: My husband and I are very intrigued with beekeeping. (We're aware we're in an apartment) We've been hearing about this mite killing up to 80% of the hives in the United States. So this was a concern for us. He gave me some really good information about possible varieties of bees that are better for keeping and offered his expertise, if we end up with hives he'll show us the ropes of how to care and handle them. More research is to be had before we would be ready for that.
The last booth I stopped by was the Luffa Gardens. Most people are unaware that loofah sponges are part of the cucumber family and grow on a vine. Which is terrible news to someone like me who wants to grow my own loofahs, but can not for the life of me grow cucumbers. They have a farm in or around Fresno where they also grow hay and raise cows. Not only do they offer the organic loofah sponges, they make and sell their own soaps (with loofah or without) and they sell their Heirloom Loofah seeds. They are working on getting their farm ready for public tours.
Why I was talking to them: Not only did I want to ask about the secrets to growing loofahs, I was actually more intrigued by learning how they make their own soap. Soap making is a fantastic homesteading skill that can be done even if you live in an apartment. I've looked into it and after hearing how they do it, I will likely give it try soon. Keep an eye out for that blog.
The two booths that I missed out on.
Skylake Pomegranate Ranch
They offer a lot of pomegranate products such as jelly, syrup, vinegar and marinade! Their farm is a U-pick farm which I love so much. I have a pomegranate tree and while I've heard that they are low maintenance and virtually require nothing, but water and love; I wanted to hear from a commercial farmer how they treat their pomegranates to see how I could apply their techniques to my single tree and produce a satisfactory yield. I'm still planning to reach out to them.
Master Gardener's Program of Fresno
Master Gardeners were their doing seminars through out the day. I really wanted to attend one about growing herbs and vegetables in containers because well... I'm in an apartment. I also just sort of wanted to network with them. They do a lot of volunteer work with schools, community gardens and beautifying of the cities, while teaching other to garden. I would love to add them to my gardening community. I will have to see what event they will be at next and try to catch up with them. If nothing else I may take a trip to visit their Garden of the Sun or attend one of their seminar/classes.
To see what other events I'll be attending you should follow me on Facebook. Once I buy the tickets, I'll post to Twitter and once I arrive to the event I usually post to Instagram. So follow me on all my socials to get the full journey.