With the natural beauty of Lake Tahoe displaying its quiet splendor mere blocks away, the artifice and forced glamor of the casinos just on the Nevada side of the border are set in stronger contrast than I’ve ever seen elsewhere. At least in Las Vegas, you’re so surrounded by casinos and flashing lights that it’s […]
Not too long ago, I decided to brave the distance to Santa Rosa to visit the National Heirloom Exposition — which is not in fact a show of grandmothers’ cherished antiques, but rather “the world’s pure food fair.” It shows off various local (and typically organic) produce, with row upon row of fruit and vegetable varieties you’ve never heard of.
The star of the show was a giant pile of squash, featuring just about every shape, color, and size you can imagine. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say it was a good 15 feet tall, and at least as wide. Of course, it wasn’t entirely as it seemed; the squash was artfully stacked around a cone to give it shape, rather than truly being a pile of pure squash. When artful illusions minimize waste, though, they’re somehow less troubling.
The food trucks at the expo served artisanal food so good that I found myself ordering something from each one just to try it — and then attempting to carry the stack of (recycled and recyclable) to-go boxes to my car.
Speaking of recycling, one of the most interesting things I noticed involved the waste disposal bins. There were trash bins everywhere, of course. As you would expect, just about each one was paired with a recycling bin. So far so good, right?
Fascinatingly, at this event dedicated to produce and food, I didn’t see a single compost bin. Pizza crusts, apple cores, soiled napkins, plum pits, strawberry stems… all had to go into the trash. Here, of all places — at a pure food fair in Northern California — you would think that, if anything, they would replace the trash cans with compost bins in an attempt to come as close as possible to a zero-waste event.
We’ve come so far, and still have so far to go.