CULVER CITY (CBS) – A few years ago, Anya Fernald wondered how she could create a local event that would break away the elitism of gourmet food.
Why not a taco truck and beer festival where organizers would help vendors source healthy, local, sustainable food? The result, Eat Real Festival, drew 65,000 people its first year in Oakland, said Festival Director Susan Coss.
On July 16th and 17th, the Eat Real Festival comes to Culver City with the same sustainable message and good food. The free event is part food festival and part state fair. There will be food trucks and food vendors along with demonstrations that include making your own jam, how to raise chickens and bees at home, and what it takes to butcher a steer or pig.
"It gives people a great opportunity to interact with their food in a way they couldn't before," Coss said at a preview event held on June 23rd at the Helms Bakery District in Culver City, where the July festival will be held.
All of the participating vendors agree to use 1 to 2 local or sustainable ingredients in the food they prepare and all meat must be hormone-free. Best of all, all food is $5. Food trucks and vendors include Flying Pig, Nom Nom, Komodo, Vizzi, and Slap Fish. There will also be at least 10 different local breweries from Paso Robles to San Diego, said Meg Gill of Golden Road Brewing in East Los Angeles.
But the festival is more than just eating, drinking, and seeing cooking demonstrations, it's about learning how to create food in a hands-on way. "It's not about how to make a meal," Coss said. "It's about how to make cheese."
And bacon. Rashida Purifoy of Glendale is an artisanal gourmet food producer. She'll teach people how "to bring home the bacon" in her Bacon 101 class where she'll teach people how to cure and smoke bacon.
Courtney Dudman Donley of Santa Ana is a chocolatier who plans to make hot fudge sauce using heavy cream, butter, corn syrup, and good chocolate. She wanted to be part of Eat Real because it's all about food. "The vision to me seems like nothing I've ever been to before," she said. "They're really celebrating the makers of food."
The 2-day festival will include a food panel with the OC Weekly's Gustavo Arellano about the "Future of Food Writing." Evan Kleiman, host of Good Food on KCRW, will teach people how to make tomato sauce, and Dare 2 Dream chicken farmers will teach people how to raise chickens. The public can get involved, too. There will be competitions in canning, pickling, and bread making.
"There's nothing else like it in the region," said Eat Real Event Manager Delilah Snell.
And event organizers are confident that people throughout the region will be able to make it to the festival. It happens during the weekend that has been dubbed "Carmageddon," because the 405 freeway will be closed in both directions. There will be a bike valet as well as parking shuttles throughout the 2-day event.
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