UPDATE: September 24, 2015 – Check out the complete photo gallery of the National Heirloom Exposition by PositivelyPetaluma.com Visual Artist Ashley Collingwood.
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE PHOTO GALLERY
Seedsman Jere Gettle and his Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company crew have pulled off another of their annual paeans to heirloom produce and the food movement, as the fifth National Heirloom Exposition took over the Sonoma County fairgrounds in Santa Rosa for three straight days beginning September 8. For three days the fairgrounds were transformed, taking on the look and leisurely pace of a rural country fair that belied its locale amid a city of 172,000.
A display of old farm vehicles and equipment lined the grass as I arrived at the fairgrounds, and suddenly fiddlers seemed to spontaneously proliferate on the music stage, popping up like a bunch of alfalfa sprouts reaching for the sun.
I immediately bumped into Dave Kaiser, probably the most recognizable of the Baker Creek crew from Missouri, besides Jere Gettle himself.
Clad in a worn straw hat and overalls that have definitely been around the farm a few years, Dave is a true people-person, a handsome fella with a scruffy beard and easy grin who’s been a part of Gettle’s company since it began. Dave recalls Jere as a young lad and neighbor in Mansfield, Missouri who loved to show off his garden and daydream about selling heirloom seeds someday.
The star of many a glorious full-color photo in the company’s popular annual seed catalog over the years, Dave’s easy-going, generous and welcoming manner – so complimentary to Jere’s own – has helped set the tone for the Expo since its inception.
The Heirloom Expo’s more than a country fair though. It’s also a trade show for heirloom and specialty seed folk, growers and family farmers of all kinds, a livestock show for those who raise them, a three-day seminar for horticulturists and rally for sustainable food and agriculture advocates. Ted-x for the dirt-in-their-nails crowd. It’s all these and more.
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