What is a VegFest? A single search on Google Chrome gave me over two million results. FaceBook is heaving with events, hashtags and pages related to vegan food festivals across the world. We have them everywhere and almost every month in this country, and every time I try to attend one, they seem to be over-crowded. So, they must be very popular!
I try to go to as many as I can, to get ideas and make new contacts with producers of vegan foods. I like watching the crowds visiting and observe their choices for shopping.
Ironically though, every time I am at a vegfest, I can hardly find any veg. Vegetables, I mean. I don’t see stalls with lots of fresh and unprocessed carrots, beetroot and so on in winter. Or tomatoes and lettuces at summer shows. I wonder why.
Perhaps because people coming to festivals do not tend to carry home heavy bags of fruit and veg. But surprisingly, I cannot find much food to eat there either, made from fresh vegetables, such as hearty soups or leafy salads.
Too plain and cheap, perhaps, for the sophisticated vegfest visitor. The queues seem to be after vegan burgers and sausages, gluten free vegan pizza, vegan mac & cheese, vegan cappuccino, and the list goes on.
And the stalls match the catering choice. Vegan cheese. Imitation meat. Egg-free mayonnaise. I am wondering, if all these imitation products did not exist, what would we eat? Perhaps then our company offer of fresh and unprocessed organic vegetables and fruit, beans and corn would be more popular.
I am posing these questions because the more trendy vegan foods become, the more difficult it seems to us selling fresh fruit and veg. It sounds like a paradox, but this is the reality.
This is not a “blue January” moan. We want to be proactive and learn from problems, and we respect customers’ choice for convenience and speedy solutions.
Door-to-door delivery for convenience? Let’s talk. We deliver door-to-door to all local customers in Pangbourne and Whitchurch-on-Thames, of which we want more, and to all new customers in Reading that are on our delivery route, too far from existing collection points.
More choice for bag contents? We are introducing new types of bags this year, to reduce the roots and potatoes (albeit, still, our biggest selling crop). And our on-line Extras list is always available to choose from.
Recipes and ideas for cooking? Our recipes are posted on our website and FB page, and we would love to hear from you and get your images of dishes using our veg. A new leaflet with cooking ideas and links to our e-Newsletter will be sent out every month.
VegFest? Sure, why not? We shall have the first VegFest in 2018, but with a difference! It will be a celebration of vegan food on a vegan farm. Where all the vegetables are produced without the use of any animal inputs (no fish blood or animal muck is ever used on our soil). It is a fact that no one wants to talk about, but most organic vegetables are produced using animal fertilisers. So, how vegan is that vegan food, I wonder?
True, you cannot exclude all animal inputs in your life. It is impossible. They are so much hidden in products that you would need to spend most of the time just researching production methods. Luckily, the Veganuary website publishes most products with hidden ingredients, as well as “accidentally vegan” mass produced goods. But they don’t mention anything about the amount of animal muck used to grow fruit and veg.
In this respect we are one of the few farms in the world, farming stock-free and offering our customers truly vegan foods. Fortunately, this is possible for most of the year, as long as we don’t have to buy in vegetables* (more difficult during the hungry gap).
So at our first VegFest at a Vegan Farm in June 2018 (preliminary title), we will be showcasing truly vegan veg and will host as many local vegan producers as possible, to offer our visitors that much expected experience of convenience, inspiration, savour and taste! Watch the space!
*All our vegetables are stock-free organic, unless bought in, which is marked on their labels at markets and vegshop and for Box Scheme bags – weekly on our website in Recent Contents.