National Heirloom Exposition

Santa Rosa, California is hosting the 5th annual National Heirloom Exposition, with heirloom plants and livestock of all varieties on display!

| Fall 2015

The 5th annual National Heirloom Exposition is coming soon and will be the center of attention in Santa Rosa, California. What began as a small idea by Baker Creek owner Jere Gettle and Petaluma Seed Bank manager Paul Wallace has developed into a very impressive event that annually draws upwards of 20,000 participants. Originally conceived in 2011 to create awareness on issues surrounding “pure food,” the Expo now focuses on the preservation of heirloom foods without genetic modification.

Located at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa on September 8, 9, and 10, the event has become known as the “World’s Fair of Pure Food.” The fairground streets and pavilion aisles will be filled with pure food enthusiasts, talented home gardeners, farmers, garden artists, school groups and leaders in the food industry.

In the tradition of fairs of the past, the National Heirloom Expo encourages competition among participants. Pumpkin growers may enter their huge squashes in the Giant Pumpkin Contest in which last year’s winner tipped the scales at 1,427 pounds. Tomato growers may compete for the honor of growing the largest tomatoes.

Competition is not limited to foods. The Expo is also temporary home to a large number of heritage animals. Many types of poultry will be judged in the The American Poultry Association and American Bantam Association sanctioned poultry show. Livestock judging will be done by Jeannette Bringer of The Livestock Conservancy with criteria of perfection or standards. While not a sanctioned show, an American Rabbit Breeders Association certified judge will award ribbons, trophies, and cash prizes for the favored bunnies. The American Kunekune Pig Association will sponsor a sanctioned show. Roosters are known for their crowing. A noisy competition is the Rooster Crowing Contest in which roosters compete to see which can crow the most times in 5 minutes.

The exhibit hall allows for hours of pleasant browsing among the displays of thousands of varieties of heirloom fruits and vegetables.

The most popular display is the giant pumpkin tower. This impressive pyramid of squash is created annually by Mac Condill of The Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur, Illinois. It is so fantastic that a similar one has even graced the White House grounds. For visitors who are not big on cucurbits, perhaps they will find more interesting the many varieties of heirloom fruits on display. There are many different types of apples other than the common Granny Smith or Jonathan of which most of us are so familiar. Visitors accustomed to seeing only red, round tomatoes will delight in the many yellow, orange, pink, green, blue, and purple hued tomatoes.

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