Foodie Fun at the Natural Products Expo

Thanks to the thoughtfulness of our wonderful Market vendor Funlayo Alabi, owner of Shea Radiance shea butter products company, I attended the Natural Products Expo East last week.

Funlayo had a booth on the Expo floor.  When I came by to say hello, she was busy making sales and contacts to sell her products.  She works with African woman who process and ship shea butter.  She considers it her mission to create beautiful body care products from ingredients that come from renewable and sustainable sources in Africa while having a positive impact on the lives of women and children in the communities in which Shea Radiance does business.  I hope her continuing success won’t preclude her from staying a part of our Market community!

I have to admit that I just skimmed the surface of the cosmetics area of the Expo.  I spent most of my time in the food area, which was big enough to consume most of the two days I was there.  The expo is the largest natural products trade show on the East Coast, with more than 22,000 attendees and more than 1,300 booths.  You must be in the business to attend it.

There were samples of food to taste, producers to meet, and (if one found the time,) educational seminars and chef demos to attend.  I did manage to squeeze in a demo by Top Chef Masters Chef Hugh Atcheson.  I asked him if he would like to do a chef demo at OFAM and although he lives in Georgia, he mentioned he had family in Virginia.  So, stay tuned.

Nora Pouillon came by to say hello to Chef Hugh.  It was a thrill to meet her – in 1999 her restaurant, Restaurant Nora in Georgetown, became the nation’s first certified organic restaurant.

She also initiated the first producer-only farmer’s markets in the nation’s capital.  If we had Living National Treasures like Japan does, she’d be one.

Enough heroine worship for one post.  More on the Expo later.

Judy Newton
Chef Liaison, Olney Farmers and Artists Market

About Judy

I have been cooking and eating all my life. I help run the Olney Farmers and Artists Market in Olney, Maryland, arrange their weekly chef demos and blog from that website (olneyfarmersmarket.org) on Market matters. This personal blog is for all things foodie: cookbooks, products, restaurants, eating.
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