VegFest: Vegas for Vegans

I am bursting with excitement to tell you all about an event that I, as Govinda's Catering, attended yesterday. First let me give you the disclaimer that this is going to be a linkalicious email because I met so many cool people that I just have to share what they are doing! (For a complete list of cool vendor folk, click here.) I know how I get when I am excited about something - my already busy brain starts going light speed on me and I have an even harder time remaining organized than I usually do. So I laid out the story in photos first to

help me stay on track and keep tangential diversions down (let's hope). By now you might be wondering "What in the world was said awesome event?" It was (drum roll, please) :

the monthly market put on by Triangle VegFest, a local organization that "promotes the benefits and joy of a plant-based lifestyle." For those of you who have been with us since last fall, you may remember that in October we participated in the annual VegFest in Raleigh. The good news is that this year the annual event will be held in August at the Durham Armory (that means indoors, y'all). The even better news is that there will be another one of these "mini" markets on July 23rd on the Southern Village Green in Chapel Hill. Oh yeah, and the best news is that we will be there both months!

(photo Steve Griffin)

So cute! The whole logo says "Friends not Food" a la "Finding Nemo."

This is the table where the dedicated event volunteers sat, one of whom came over to my table and said my business model reminded him of a catering service, Trap Kitchen, he had just heard about in LA. The men who run it post pictures of their meal of the day on Instagram with prices, descriptions, and pick up or delivery instructions. Cool, right? What's even cooler is that these gentlemen used to be former rival gang members. Their story is truly inspiring; click here to watch a short video about their company. A mildly tangential aside is that I discovered this morning that the man who shared the story of Trap Kitchen with me is named Darren, and he happens to be a finalist in PETA's Sexiest Vegan Next Door competition. (I totally had no idea there was such a contest. It kind of makes me want to say "What will they think of next?")

In addition to the vendor market, VegFest hosted their first ever 5K run. I vaguely remembered seeing a line in the promos about coming dressed as your favorite fruit or vegetable. What is amazing is that several of the race contestants came and ran in their costumes. If I remember correctly, the gentleman in the eggplant costume ran with it on, had his dog run with him, and still placed 3rd in his age bracket!

(photo Helene Ann)

(photo Vegans for Peace)

(photo Vegans for Peace)

My Price is Right flashback moment - most of the runners politely came up to the front to receive their prizes, but this woman did what winners are supposed to do! Note the stealthy left-corner photo exposure I got just by being conveniently located near the PA system where Helene, the event organizer, was handing out all the race prizes.

(photo Vegans for Peace)

My shiny-faced friend, Vishnu Priya, who is a nutritionist-in-training, a vegan, and a runner, all in one! She also gets total credit for encouraging me to go to the market in the first place. My sweetheart and doTERRA essential oils get the credit for making sure that I even made it to the market. On Friday I had a sudden-onset (and likely stress-induced) fever. Saturday Radha (my total heroine) and I did the Carrboro Farmers' Market. By the time I got home, I was beyond toasted; my fever had returned, and I was sure I would have to cancel my involvement in the VegFest market. My other hero came over and insisted that I drink water with oregano oil in it (effective but yuck), pumped me full of the doTERRA On Guard formula, and helped me run a super hot bath with both of those oils in it. Ba-Zinga! That was the magic stuff, right there! My fever broke and I was miraculously almost my regular energetic self by morning - at least enough to work and feel cheerful about it. In the kung fu approach to fighting this bug, we also used vitamin C, Source Natural's Wellness Resistance Formula, some medicinal mushrooms, and good old Ibuprofen; however, I do believe that the lion's share of the credit for my lightning recovery goes to doTERRA (which I felt ever so slightly strong-armed into buying, yet am now becoming more and more impressed with).

(photo Vegans for Peace)

This was a great photo of my table that happened to include a terrible image of my face. I guess the photographer did not get the memo that he was not to take or post any photos of me that do not look like the one on my business card...

(photo Vegans for Peace)

Brunch at these events is always provided by Soul Cocina's Silvana and her mother, pictured here (who is obviously far more photogenic than I was yesterday). They are from Colombia and serve up some mean tamales and arepas, among other fabulous, vegan, gluten-free goodies.

(photo Vegans for Peace)

This is Blythe, who used to run a brick-and-mortar ice cream parlor in New York that served cashew ice cream. Y'all, did you catch that?! Cashew cream! Sorrowfully I did not get any free samples of that deliciousness, as I could not really get away from my own table to walk around. I wanted to include a picture of Blythe's ice cream cart because I first met her at the Piedmont Food and Agriculture Processing Center in Hillsborough, where we both rent kitchen space. I was super excited to hear that she would be recreating her NY taste sensations down here. It seems that Sweet Hazel's Frozen Desserts is more than comfy in their transition down south. Their tagline is "Deliciously Sweet & Distinctively Southern Frozen Confections," which means they have flavors like Banana Pudding, Peanut Butter Pie, Mississippi Mud, etc.

There really were more wonderful and charming vendors that I did not get to connect with, like the 3 other vegan bakers, or the couple local kombucha-type beverage vendors, or the folks who are working on an initiative to place solar panels at NC schools. You get the idea. Come on over next time - maybe one of you can watch my booth for a few minutes so that I can walk around and enjoy the festivities myself. ;-)

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