Tuesday, October 9, 2012

CSA Long Island Expo

Recently, I attended the Gluten-Free Expo sponsored by the Celiac Sprue Association and held on Long Island.  It's the first Gluten-Free Expo I've attended and I'm thrilled that I made the time to get there!  The hotel where the Expo was held, was beautiful, upscale, surrounded by gorgeous trees and landscaping, and connected to a golf course and tennis courts.  If you are thinking of attending next year, you wont be disappointed.
Displays from six vendors including Namaste Foods, Van's Natural Foods and Wild Flours Bake Shop offered brochures and product coupons.
Twenty-four exhibitors included Aleia's Gluten Free Foods, Garden Lites, JD's Best Gluten Free Pizza,  Sorghum Checkoff Program, Crunchmaster and Udi's Gluten Free.
The rep's from Aleia's were incredibly friendly, helpful, clearly passionate about their brand, offered lots of free taste tests and several free samples!  I already love their Italian Bread Crumbs and can't wait to try the Panko Style Bread Crumbs and Savory Stuffing Mix they sent me home with.
I met Julie at the Garden Lites booth, a company that offers all natural vegetable based products.  Their celiac-friendly products are not only gluten-free, but are manufactured on dedicated lines and routinely tested at levels below 10 parts per million.  I tasted their absolutely delicious Zucchini Chocolate muffins.  Garden Lites are frozen, and packaged individually so look for them in the natural/organic freezer section.  Garden Lite products are available nationwide through many large retailers! Visit their store locator to find a location near you!  If they aren't available at your local market, print out a product request form and ask your store manage to carry them - you'll be glad you did!
Barbara Kliment, the Executive Director of the Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board and her husband were on hand to educate the community about Sorghum.  I have to admit, I was truly fascinated as I had never seen a sorghum plant.  Barbara was lovely to speak with, is clearly passionate about sorghum, explained the benefits of using sorghum for gluten-free baking, and provided me with a free Sorghum cookbook.  I can't wait to try baking with sorghum flour and to serve the grain as a side dish.  A sorghum product they had on hand as a sample is Mini Pops.  Mini Pops are air popped sorghum grain, grown in the USA, NON GMO, GLUTEN-FREE, CERTIFIED ORGANIC, and manufactured in a NUT-FREE facility!  What's not to love!  Additionally sorghum farming requires 50% less agricultural water consumption than corn.  Mini Pops resemble miniature popcorn and are available in a variety of flavors.  Sure to be one of my new favorite GF products!

Crunchmaster also had a representative providing taste tests of a variety of gluten-free crackers including Roasted Vegetable, Artisan Four Cheese, Original and Rosemary and Olive Oil and sent me home with samples to share with my family.  I also received product request forms from them, as currently, I can only purchase one variety at one local store.  I'm hoping to get a variety of these products on the shelves at my regular supermarkets as well!
Overall it was a terrific experience and I can't wait to attend again next year!

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