Friday, October 24, 2014

Nan K. Chase: Overheard at the Fair

Presenting at a Mother Earth News Fair, like the one in Kansas this weekend, is a learning experience for the teacher, too.

Nan Chase presents to a full house at the Pennsylvania Mother Earth News Fair in September. Photo by Matt LaBombard.
I’m a shameless eavesdropper and it was especially fun to eavesdrop at the Mother Earth News Fair at Seven Springs, Pennsylvania, last month. The phrases I heard most often were, “Amazing,” “Mmmm, delicious,” and “That’s information I can use.”

It was exciting to see the big crowds and the wonderful mix of people: vegetarians and folks who butcher their own livestock for food, farm families and city slickers, toddlers and seniors. And the hundreds of vendors had something for every sustainability interest, from producing honey to logging. It truly was a fair, a place for people to come together and share. I picked up tips on growing garlic, rotating my garden crops, and making fermented foods.

The Seven Springs fair was my first time as a presenter — I gave talks on making garden wines and on canning, both of which are covered in my new book, Drink the Harvest — and what really impressed me was the depth of the questions posed by the audience. They challenged me. The Q&A after the talks actually gave me new information I can pass along at future events. All the presenters I talked to said the same thing: the audiences were there to hone their skills and take home new techniques they could try right away. The attendees are passionate about sustainable lifestyles and want to make the world a better place for future generations.

I was thrilled when all the copies of Drink the Harvest sold out the first day — thanks for that support! Maybe I will hear from some of those readers after they try making prickly pear cactus wine or crabapple cider. 

See you in Topeka!

Not going to the fair? Visit the Mother Earth News Fair Bookstore online to order your copy of Drink the Harvest!

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