Friday, August 14, 2015

big crowd for #MINFoodie9

This is the Place for #MINFoodie9
Wednesday's Mass Innovation Nights Foodie event was huge: record number of products, enormous crowd, and vast space at Lord Hobo Brewing Co. The actual brewing area was roped off, but open for us to view and photograph. All that gleaming stainless steel made for some bright and shiny photos!

Gleaming Brewing Tanks
The food innovations were diverse as always from juices to prepackaged Indian meals to spices for kids and beyond. The crowd favorite was Makomas Juices.  Samples were going fast, and once I tasted the hibiscus, I could see why. It tasted a little bit like Red Zinger (my favorite hippie dippy herbal tea back in the 1970s) but fruitier.  All the flavors are based on West African family traditions. They're available at many Whole Foods stores (alas, not my local one) and other natural foods stores.

Makomas Juice
I loved meeting the folks behind Natural Food Exchange. Their food is not only organic but also GMO free. Hey, they stock my favorite kale chips -- the ones from Revitalive in Newburyport -- and they are conveniently located in Reading (here in the north country of Massachusetts).

Me Chatting with Natural Food Exchange (photo by Maureen Mansfield)
And guess who was finally spotted at a Mass Innovation Night after nearly a year? That's right, Eric Andersen! It was great to reconnect with Eric. Lots of other regulars were happy to see him too. And his prolific tweeting inspired me to up my Twitter game :-)

Everybody is Glad to See Eric!
TippiTopper seasonings are made especially for kids. They're organic and made from fruit. Kids can sprinkle them on plain foods to enhance the flavor. Sounds like a cool thing for picky eaters. I tried the Banana Bread and the PB and J sprinkled on plain yogurt. The Banana Bread really perked up the yogurt.
Purple Carrot delivers vegan meal kits -- all pre-measured ingredients and the recipes. They seemed to be getting an enthusiastic response from people.

Purple Carrot
India in a Box supplies delicious Indian meals, yes, in a box. Pour, heat, eat. 

India in a Box
Glenwood Garden was there to introduce a new Artisan Food Gift Box. Each sale triggers a donation to one of their participating nonprofits. Great food, sustainability, and charitable giving. What more could you want?
Glenwood Garden
Glenwood Garden Gift Box

The Coffee Bar from New Grounds Food was delicious. It's organic, vegan, and gluten free and is infused with a full cup of fair trade coffee. This gives new meaning to the term "energy bar."

Coffee Bar
Vegetable bouquets from Crudite Creations are the prettiest food I saw all evening. They're also the perfect gift for when you have no idea what to give.  And who knew vegetables came in so many bright colors?
Pretty Food from Crudite Creations
Smoked Maple Syrup. Smoked Maple Syrup. Smoked Maple Syrup. Did I say that enough? Sugar Bob's Smoked Maple Syrup  is just that, rich, dark maple syrup infused with wood smoke. The sample tasted delicious. The syrup is intended for cooking with, not for pouring on your pancakes. The idea is to use it in sauces, marinades, and glazes to give big flavor to things like barbecue. And even though they didn't have matching T-shirts, I hereby award them Best Costume of MINFoodie9 because of their father and son name tags: Sugar Bob and Sugar Dad.
Sugar Dad and Sugar Bob
Community Brew was getting raves for the samples of Downeast Cider, but Community Brew is actually software (a SAAS application) for craft breweries from East Coast Product. Their aim is to make it easier for craft brewers to communicate with their customers.

Community Brew
The Adey Foods table was drawing big crowds with their samples of delicious Ethiopian cuisine. Who wouldn't want fresh, locally produced, high quality Ethiopian foods? Now imagine finding them in your local grocery store instead of searching for an Ethiopian specialty store.

A Glimpse of Adey Foods thru the Crowd
As I said in the first paragraph, this event was huge with a record number of products.  It was impossible for me to sample everything and talk to everybody. The spirit of the crowd was very upbeat and everybody seemed to be having lots of fun. There was even a corn hole game set up and some people were getting to be quite expert at it, so I will close with a photo of some corn hole players/experts.

Getting Serious about Playing Corn Hole