Expo areas at conferences are the best way to accumulate a ton of useless swag that ends up in a landfill shortly after you get home. The expo at Paleo f(x) actually exceeded my expectations. The vendor area was full of mom & pop type vendors with some great Paleo friendly products. Paleo is still on the fringe, so it is still untainted by large corporations. Vendors were generous with their samples and it was all useable stuff. The vendor area was flanked by a cooking demo stage and two open stages for sessions. The middle of the room was the action area where you could learn to dead lift properly or even flip a tractor tire end over end. Our very favorite vendor was Kosmic Kombucha. These guys are awesome! I’ve tried to home brew my own booch quite unsuccessfully over the past few months. Kosmic definitely has the process down. Their kombucha has nice effervescence, organic ingredients and tasty flavor combos. I found myself buying a bottle every time we were out and about in Austin. Mint Julep, with organic white grape juice, fresh squeezed orange and lemon juices and fresh mint, is the stuff! What’s not to love? Well, the fact that I can’t buy it in Chicago. They are local to Austin, but maybe we can work on a distribution partnership in the future?? Seriously great booch with passionate owners that love what they do. It’s just another reason to visit Austin again. Ok, I’m done gushing.
Our next favorite, because it’s such an innovative product, was the Exo cricket flour booth. There are a whopping 40 nutrient dense crickets per bar. It’s only gross if you think about it. When I was a kid, we always had crickets in the basement and they freaked me out. I had no idea that they were snacks! Anyway, the bar we tried had a nice deep chocolate flavor but nary a crunch or a creak. The gross out factor is actually pretty fun. I’d be interested in buying some of the raw flour to cook with, but they aren’t selling it separately… yet.
Ever hear of pili nuts? Me either. So, Pili’s are grown in the Philipines. They are nutrient rich from the volcanic soil and super delicious. It’s kind of a mix between a macadamia and a cashew with buttery smoothness. The Amazon of Paleo goods and Pili nuts is Barefoot Provisions. They literally had half a ton of great food samples to try, but the Pili nuts were the standout. They are an exclusive distributor for many of their products and focus on Paleo foods. I’m going to order a few bags of Pilis as soon as I wrap up this blog.
Epic Bar has been one of my favorites since they came out last year. I actually rode my bike 40 miles just to stock up on Epics. They had a great booth and there was always a crowd gathered to check out their innovative meat bars. It’s kind of like jerky, but much easier on the jaw. They have bison, beef, turkey and lamb bars. I had an issue with a bar a couple months ago and spoke with Sarah about it. She promptly replaced the bar and told me how they had remedied some quality control issues. I’m a happy camper. They stand behind their bars and are passionate about it… very respectable.
This vendor just puts a smile on my face… Primal Pit Paste. They included a sample in our registration packs, but I went to the booth and bought some. I eliminated the typical antiperspirant with aluminum last year, but had yet to find a good replacement. Well, the triple P is it. Organic ingredients and no aluminum. I got the kind that you scoop out and rub in your pits all monkey like. Rene got the more civilized stick applicator. They use arrowroot powder and baking soda as drying agents, which my shirts appreciate. So far, so good!
Where would we be without The Dirt? More Paleo personal care products for us to enjoy. They say “100% Natural and 200% Kick Ass”. We got a couple samples of the tooth powder in our registration pack and tried the samples right away. It’s a very different brushing experience compared to your regular toothpaste. You run your toothbrush head through the water and then dip the tip into the powder. It leaves a clean taste in your mouth and smooth teeth, but looks like dirty water when you spit it into the sink. I guess that’s the point. Chemical free and gluten free.
Nick was generous with his sticks. Nick is a salt of the earth cattle farmer from Iowa. Take as many as you want, he said. And I did. Nick’s Sticks are delicious. Good job, Nick. I think The spicy versions of the free range turkey and grass fed beef were my favorite. I took a pack for the road and it got me through an afternoon hunger attack. I’ll buy these when I see em!
The Granilla Bar was another fave. The guy, Kevin, was asked to fill a booth space just a few weeks before the conference. They had to borrow a kitchen and were able to crank out enough bars to satisfy the crowds. The story is good. His wife, Denise, developed the Paleo granola snack recipe as a healthy snack for the kids. The bars are even better than the story. The Maple Fruit Bar was my favorite… moist, crunchy and mapley. One of the buyers for Whole Foods stopped by the Granilla booth and was interested, so they may really have to step up that production!
We had to wash all the great food samples down with something. I almost walked by this booth, but who can say no to free beer?? Gluten free beer hasn’t ever been my beverage of choice. I used to be a huge beer fan with a very discerning taste for microbrews. The GF beers just have a funk that I don’t care for, so I’ve been opting for hard ciders or red wine instead. Omission Beer has really changed my mind and pleased my taste buds. They have a legit IPA and a really good pale ale. Cheers guys!!