Bethlehem’s VegFest: Reds, Yellows And Greens Only


I really had a hard time making up my mind. I was hungry, in desperate need of lunch. I’d been photographing, watching food demos and talking to vendors and patrons for two hours. Walking, shooting, talking, taking the occasional note, mental or written, while the sun beat down on me, a welcome sight after two weeks of hurricane rains. I stopped occasionally to play with as many dogs as would let me, and there were dozens in all shapes and sizes, all remarkably friendly. What a beautiful day.

vegfest Bethlehem pa Emeril's Italian Table

Preparing a sampling at Emeril’s Italian Table

So there I stood: stomach growling, sugars plummeting. Would it be a vegetable wrap and organic whole wheat pretzel? Greek Spinach pie? Thai food? As any good lazy decision maker might do, I opted for a bit of all three. Yum. Fully satisfied.

On a former South Side rail line bed, now rehabilitated as the Greenway, more than six thousand people converged Saturday for Bethlehem’s Inaugural Vegfest. Chefs and cooks worked at a frantic pace under their tents preparing meatless dishes and the lines were long at Vegan Treats and Backdoor Bakeshop for something sweet and delish after the main courses were consumed.

Go here to see the images of VegFest 2011

vegfest bethlehem heirloom tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes on display

Local growers were well represented: Bechdolt Orchards, Bleiler’s Produce and Scholl Orchards among others -with apples, peaches, plums, tomatoes, peppers, cantaloupes, sweet corn. The aromas from those tents – all of that fresh, in-season fruit at the peak of ripeness, was wonderful.

Over at the Food Demo Kitchen I learned that Chef Federica Muggenburg from Hotel Bethlehem makes one heck of a tomato sorbet. Preceding the demo, Jeffrey Frank of Liberty Gardens, a farm which grows organic produce for local restaurants, conducted an in-depth dissertation on heirloom tomatoes, a few which I’ve grown, and others which I plan on growing now that I’ve seen and tasted them.

So many flavors, so many new dishes, so little time.

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About Todd Heft

Todd Heft is an organic gardener and freelance garden writer who lives in the Lehigh Valley, PA and has gardened for most of his life. When he isn't writing or reading about organic gardening, he's gardening. His first book, "Homegrown Tomatoes: The Step-By-Step Guide to Growing Delicious Organic Tomatoes In Your Garden" is available on Amazon now. Google
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One Response to Bethlehem’s VegFest: Reds, Yellows And Greens Only

  1. Jen says:

    Great event, wasn’t it?! I brought home as much local produce as I could carry and had the most delicious oatmeal raisin cookie I’ve ever eaten. Looking forward to next year.

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