My third year in attendance at the Green Festival in New York City was my most disappointing visit yet. I’ve looked forward to this green event the most because of its close location, compared to my annual visit to Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore. The Javits Center hosted this annual event, with what seemed to be its smallest vendor amount yet. I hoped to discover some new to me and innovative companies. I did find one that blew me away and some others that were great also, but for the majority of the festival they weren’t so impressive. As a result, my recap will tend to be shorter than previous years.
The vendor that impressed me the most at the festival was a reclaimed wallet, bag and cutting board company from Canada, MariClaRo. Their purpose is to save materials that would just be considered trash by others but instead become repurposed. They acquire leather from junkyard cars, Air Canada and Air Alaska seats and scrap walnut wood from furniture makers. These materials are then transformed into leather wallets, messenger and weekend bags, and cutting boards.
The leather wallets feature the embossed type and year of the car, along with some of them boasting the exact mileage the card had. A very cool and unique feature that makes me love this company even more!
The reclaimed wood is shaped into cutting boards, each with an embossed image of a garlic or pear to help keep your fruits from smelling like garlic and onions. I can’t find an online link to share cutting boards available to purchase, unfortunately.
MariClaRo also creates unique upcycled bags, offering many different bag styles, totes, messengers and weekenders. Not all bags are created equal, they each feature different material, such as airline seat fabric, sports dome covering (that is already 35 years old and indestructible, see white fabric on bottom of tote in photo) and reclaimed seat leather. If you like a bag in their collection but want a certain color for a specific section, they even allow you to customize that.
The way that Maricarlo uses materials to create something truly unique is a wonderful example of what people can do when they decide trash doesn’t have to be trash.
Live Kombucha Soda
I’ve finally tried Kombucha and actually love it! I was so thrilled with the taste and amount of carbonation (I rarely like any carbonation) which was all so surprising to me. Live Kombucha is not your usual fermented beverage drink, the specific flavors from this brand mimic mainstream soda flavors. However, these might have the faint flavor of soda. However these might have the faint flavor and don’t contain the heavy taste of sugar syrup sodas are known for.
All of their kombuchas are Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project certified, with 8 total flavors, the few that I sampled I enjoyed. Pure Doctor, Orange, Rhuberry and Root Beer were the flavors I tried and enjoyed, with Orange being the most subtle flavor and Pure Doctor being the most flavorful of the three I had. The other flavors they offer are Original, Cola, Lemon, Ginger, Pomtastic Blueberry. Each 12oz. bottle has a twist off top for that original soda pop feeling. Though I don’t enjoy soda, I enjoyed these more soda style flavors than the traditional fruit based ones. Live Kombucha was my favorite Kombucha of the entire festival, with three total Kombucha vendors in attendance.
I Heart Keenwah
Quinoa is one of my favorite dishes to incorporate with meals, so I was pleased to now find it in a new snack form. I Heart Keenwah is a great company that features quinoa, brown rice and white rice flours. These help to make a great airy and crunchy quinoa puff! The quinoa puff comes in savory or sweet flavors and I fell hard for the Dark Chocolate Himalayan Pink Salt flavor. It was tasty and creamy along with a bit of a crunch!
All of the I Heart Keenwah flavors are Non-GMO Project Verified, as well as Fair Trade, Certified Gluten Free and Vegan. They also offer Quinoa Clusters in, Chocolate Sea Salt, Cashew Cranberry, Peanut Butter Cacao and Almond. Their Quinoa Puffs are offered in Aged Cheddar, Sea Salt Truffle, Sweet Chili, Herbes de Provence. Chocolate Puffs come in an additional Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor and were creamier than the Himalayan Pink Salt version. These are a great alternative to chips and other cheese puffs, besides being way better for you!
Marty’s Vegan Burger
We stopped for an early lunch within the festival and grabbed an Original World Famous Burger plus Mac and Cheeze from Marty’s Vegan Burger booth. I wasn’t sure how I would enjoy the burger, so I split it with a friend. I had to get back in line and get my own seitan, black bean and brown rice burger because it was so good! The bun was super soft and fresh, which really made the burger tasty, along with the melted vegan cheese and special sauce.
The Mac and Cheeze was a very good choice, thanks to being able to sample it before ordering I knew I would like it. I also grabbed one “drumstix” to sample with BBQ sauce. The texture seemed to be spot on but I wasn’t a fan of the sauce, it was a bit too sweet for my liking. It was also authentic to have a “bamboo stick” bone within the chicken too. With much of the food being so tasty, I had to inquire if Marty’s burgers were available in retail stores. Unfortunately not, but they are opening a restaurant at Lexington Avenue and East 27th Street in Spring/Summer 2016. I highly recommend checking them out if you are in the area I was so very impressed.
I was excited to see a familiar product from Lesser Evil snack company. I spent a while at their booth sampling treats, which included three varieties of organic popcorn and three flavors of “That’s a Good Cookie.”
Himalayan Pink was my favorite popcorn with the Avocado-licious (made with avocado oil) being a great runner up because of using this uncommon oil. I wasn’t the biggest fan of classic cheddar, it was pleasantly unlike Smartfood cheddar popcorn but found it a bit less flavorful.
The “Good Cookies” were surprisingly soft and chewy, especially since they look crunchy. Ginger Cashew Spice was quiet spicy and not to my liking compared to my favorite Quinoa Apple Pie cookie. Trail Mix wasn’t bad either, coming in second to my favorite. Who knew a cookie could be healthy and great tasting! All of their cookies are Non-GMO Project verified too. They also offer Super Bites in 3 different flavors and Chia Crisps in 2 flavors, which I can’t say how they taste because they weren’t available to sample.
On my way out I almost missed this unique company, Unitensil. I saw their booth on the way in but said I would stop by later, however by the time I was leaving I did forget. Glad I was reminded by a friend! This versatile utensil is so unique that it warrants its own full review, so be on the lookout for this in the coming weeks!