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Natural Expo 2012

Natural Expo 2012


Foodex was March 6 to 9th.  Asia’s largest food trade fair happens yearly at Makuhari Messe in Chiba and Alishan was there as we are every year.    Half way through the 9th Fay and I left and flew to LA to attend Natural Expo West America’s largest natural/organic food trade fair.  Due to the international date line we were able to live  March 9th twice.   For us Expo West (9th till 11th)   is a chance to meet and visit with so many of our American and even European suppliers.  Also to be reminded of a totally different way of visualizing and organizing a food business.   Biofach in Germany,   Foodex in Japan and Expo West in America are so different in feeling, style and theme.   Here are a few pictures and comments about Expo West at Anaheim California.

My favorite booth.   A perpetual struggle for us is what to do with left over pallets.    We have built compost systems,    fences,  chicken houses,   used as firewood for ofuro,    once used 60 to build a music stage in the forest.  These people built a complete cafe from pallets at the show.    If you need some (for free) please call us.

This is Joe  and Micheal of Alvarado Street Bakery.  I have known them both for over 15 years.   Alvarado is completely worker owned.   Everyone makes a living wage and profits as the company grows  ( or sees their salary decrease if profits go down.    Alvarado bread is whole grain incredibleness.    They are now selling into school systems for use in lunch programs for students.    The Federal government is forcing school to decrease fat, increase fiber and improve nutrition in the school system.

One hot item at the show was Chia Seed.    We will be offering it very soon.   For Japan where flax seed is sadly a no no Chia delivers the omega 3/6’s and other wonders.  More soon.

Flax is still a wonder food.   Now you can pour it on your cereal.   Think soymilk made from flax.

One growth area at the show is Japanese Food.   All types.  So many firms.  Some Japanese makers in Japan.    Others Japanese Americans making in California.  Easily 20 booths at the show.    Also coming from Asia were Taiwanese “vegetarian” shrimp makers.  Using konyuku. It was quite acceptable.     Korean,  Thai and Indian companies with organic and natural products were also often found.

This photo is  Okada san .   Him and his son were part of the original wave of bringing Japanese Macrobiotic foods to the west 30 years ago.   Okada san has been our friend and helped us since we first met at an early IFOAM meeting in Tokyo in the late 80’s.     They provide Tengu Foods with our original organic coffee 23 years ago.  Hawaiian Gold I recall.

Sweet potatoes…a way forward for Japanese farmers with ideas.

Eden has been part of what Alishan offers since the early days.  Below is Fay talking with Michael Potter one of the founders.   Eden worked with Muso in introducing Japanese  foods to American hippies in the 1980s.   They brought soymilk from Japan and then built the first aseptic soymilk factory in American.

Below is Tofutown our pate and veggie sausage supplier from Germany.

I dont think we will be stocking this one  but it was interesting……Organic Peanut Butter fortified with superfoods like acai in a single serve squeeze tube for those on the go.

Absolutely everywhere at Expo was young green coconut water.  Some fortified with whatever,  flavored, powdered  ( yes powdered water). Most are ghastly.  This wasd wonderful.   Almost like the real thing.   Sadly sold refrigerated with a short shelf life.   We will keep drinking and looking.  Their booth was also quite distinctive.

Organic things for babies were everywhere.   These are cookies for nursing mothers.   The data on increasing milk production was impressive.   To short a shelf life for us to import but you can certainly make your own.  Two of the special ingredients    brewers/nutritonal yeast and flax seed.   Want more info?

Amys is the biggest and busiest booth at the show.    They are running dozens of ovens baking up organic vegetarian pizzas, burritos,  cakes,   pies etc and offering massive samples.  That is why it is so crowded on the left.

At the end of the show exhibitors often donate directly to the Second Harvest Food Bank   Second Harvest Japan works closely and has learn so much from them

and that was the show for us.  Afterwards we met up with our children Jay and Kay who are now going to school in America and went out into the desert for hiking and down to the ocean for some beautiful views.