The past weekend the 6th Organic Expo & Green Show took place in the Darling Harbour Convention & Exhibition Centre. I like to think about it as the Good Food & Wine Show‘s more responsible (and possibly healthier) little sibling. Area-wise the former was four times as big as the latter.
I am, of course, interested in all things organic and sustainable and so is my sister. We went on Sunday and arrived early to purchase our discounted tickets (courtesy of the Honest to Goodness voucher). The format was very similar to the Good Food & Wine Show, with most stallholders offering samples of their products/services and/or show special prices. This expo is targeted to the trade as well as the general public. That’s why there were stalls where no products were being sold, just available for sampling.
Upon arrival we received a paper bag with the expo guide, a free magazine and a few product samples (including a lube sachet!). There were also free newspapers for the ones who chose to carry the extra weight around.
Most of the exhibitors sold food, either in branded stalls (selling one brand of products) or health shop stalls (selling many brands). There was a sweet deal in two stalls of 3 bags/boxes of quinoa (in grain, flakes or puffed) for $10 that I could not resist. I also bought a nut mix and dried cranberries from Honest To Goodness.
A few stalls offered flours but unfortunately none had baked bread.
A hit among products were the bars (muesli/granola/energy… whatever you choose to call them). I bought three Living Food bars which I chose over the other ones because they have green powder in them and no added refined sugar at all (they are sweetened with dates, figs, etc).
There were lots and lots of chips, crackers (mostly rice, they seem to be regarded as healthier by the average organic goods consumer), dips, sauces, olive oils and preserves. Most of them good, some outstanding.
The novelty was Bio-Grape fruit pastes, which claim to be very high in antioxidants thanks to the colour pigment extracted fro the skin and seeds of red wine grapes. They sold “cheese lovers packs”, which included a tub of fruit paste plus a box of rapeseed crackers. I tasted a couple of pastes with the crackers and were indeed tasty; I imagine they are amazing with cheese. They also had wine based sauces and jus, as well as fruit jams. Very good stuff.
There were a few dairy products stalls, maybe not enough variety for the cheese/milk/yogurt lovers. I was hoping to find some goat cheeses and milk, but had no luck.
There were a few meat stalls, too. Thankfully they were not within the range of vision of the cute farm animals and the little kids cuddling them.
For those with a sweet tooth there were plenty of choices: chocolate, cookies and all kinds of confectionery.
As expected, there were organic teas and coffees too. Clipper organic teas were at good price (3 boxes for $10), so my sister and I grabbed 6 and I ended up with 4 of them. We bought coffee in one of the two show’s coffee carts (the one in the “cafe” area, where some sandwiches, salads, hot food and desserts were being sold) before noticing the Jasper Coffee and Sacred Grounds stalls.
Other non-alcoholic beverages included juices, cordials and ginger beer. There was a Goodnight mystery drink that claimed to be helpful for restless sleepers if drank warm at night or energising if drank chilled during the day. We didn’t taste it.
There was wine and beer, too. A lot less than in the Good Wine & Food Show, but a nice variety.
There were a couple of stands selling açaí products. Açaí is a berry that comes from the Brazilian Amazon and is supposed to have super high levels of antioxidants.
There were also a few brands of greens and probiotics powders. Vital Greens is the brand I’ve used in the past and the one I’d have chosen to buy in the expo if I had the money.
The all-organic restaurant Agapé was in the show, too. In their stall, they offered pre-packaged soups and other foods (I tasted the mushroom risotto, which was very nice), as well as freshly cooked food samples (roasted pork, kingfish sashimi, etc). Right next to their stall they had a tiny lounge where they offered samples of their signature brownie (super moist and absolutely delicious) and gave away $20 discount vouchers for dining on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. I will report back as soon as I get there!
On the non-edible side, there was a fairly good variety of products, too. Personal care product stalls offered everything from face and hand creams to shampoos and hand washes.
The only person who didn’t allow me to shoot her stall was a woman selling soaps shaped as cupcakes and cake slices.
There were also a few clothing stalls. I didn’t see much people buying clothes but maybe it was just my impression.
Quite a few stalls offered stainless steel bottles in all sizes, designs and prices. I bought a 400 ml Cheeki bottle for bringing my homemade almond milk to work.
Home cleaning items were also covered. Laundry powder, laundry nuts (an innovative product from India, which I decided not to try this time), general purpose cleaning sprays, etc. I bought the Eco Store’s laundry powder and dishwashing liquid and a couple of sports deodorizers (for my boxing gloves) from Pure Bamboo.
Neoflam cookware had a big stand with all their non-stick and non-toxic product range.
Neoflam also sponsored the demonstration stage, which featured chefs like Kylie Kwong (from Billy Kwong in Surry Hills) and Simon Lawson (from Agapé in Botany), among other speakers. Kylie Kwong let her providers speak a bit about how they got into organic farming before she demonstrated a few dishes from her new cookbook.
There was also the speaker’s corner, where speakers covered topics on how to green-up our lives.
Overall, I did enjoy the expo, even when I couldn’t buy any goat dairy or bread loaves. I think events like this are key for raising awareness in people and businesses about the importance of organic and sustainable products. Not only because it’s better for our health (although this is debatable… there is organic junk food, too) but because it is better for our planet’s health. As a business, going organic may not seem a good deal, but maybe we need to stop looking at short-term profit figures and start looking at the big picture.