Vegging Out

The SLC VegFest is Salt Lake’s only vegan food festival

SLC VegFest is not just an event for vegans. It’s a day for the entire community to ponder ways to help animals, reduce our footprint on the planet, support local green businesses, live healthier and just enjoy a fun outdoor festival while eating delicious food. Hosted by the Utah Animal Rights Coalition and run by volunteers, SLC VegFest is now in its fourth year. This year’s event takes place on Saturday, Sept. 14, from noon to 8 p.m., at Library Square, which will become a vegan paradise filled with food purveyors and a beer garden. Entry is free for this family-friendly event.

Choose from a variety of exhibitors, entertainment, speakers, films and workshops. Grey (of the 2016 viral Thanksgiving freestyle video) will perform with his unique combination of activism and hip hop. Capt. Peter Hammarstedt from Sea Shepherd will travel from Sweden to talk about fishing and the state of the world’s oceans. A Salt Lake City mayoral forum is also planned where you can learn how the candidates will make the city more humane for animals, along with other important issues.

Some of this year’s food vendors include:

Big O Doughnuts has long been serving colorful and delicious fresh-baked doughnuts to SLC VegFest crowds. “It’s been great to grow with Vegfest and see it expand throughout the years,” co-owner Ally Curzon says. If the day is a scorcher, save room for Big O’s newest item (and probably the most Instagrammable at the fest): ice cream-doughnut sammies, made with sorbet from another local favorite, Normal Ice Cream.

Lavender Kitchen from Ogden will bring its creative and delicious baked goods, such as jam-filled coconut cookies and lavender blueberry muffins. “We tend to have a few tricks up our sleeve at the last minute,” co-owner Kye Hallows promises. “I can’t tell ya what it will be yet, but it is going to be amazing.”

Huckleberry Grill will debut a new food truck. For the past three years of catering the event, Huckleberry Grill’s Eric Westover, who considers himself a “vegan sympathizer,” has blown the minds of VegFest attendees. In addition to creating crowd-favorites like elotes with cilantro-lime pesto or habanero sour cream, he challenges himself to come up with a dish to flex his chef muscles. In 2018, he sold fire-roasted poblano and black bean mini taco salads for only $5. He keeps his costs low to encourage people to try something different. No promises, but he’s been inspired by the Poke bowl trend and hopes to experiment with wasabi and soy-infused watermelon bowls. Whatever he comes up with, it’s sure to be delicious and unique.

Look for crowd-pleasing spicy vegan dishes
like this one from Huckleberry Grill

New this year! New vendors such as Lucky Slice Pizza and Trolley Wing Co. are signing up for VegFest every day. Follow along on social media so you don’t miss out! Also, keep an eye out for these two:

Namash Swahili Cuisine: Najati Abdalla grew up selling her mother’s food and ultimately her own fare on the streets of Kenya before coming to the United States in 2008. Working with Spice Kitchen Incubator, she’s started a new food business in Salt Lake. Specializing in East African, Somali and Swahili fare, she’s prepared a special menu for VegFest consisting of Chapati bread served with coconut beans and samosas served with pilipili sauce. “Wherever I go, people like my food.” she says.

Garden O’Veaten: Julianne Nagle is bringing her groovy food truck filled with whole-food, organic, gluten-free goodness to VegFest. The Sweet Baby Crabless Cakes, made with sustainable Heart of Palm and topped with a decadent (but healthy!) remoulade sauce are sure to sell out. The Mindful Mac and Casheeze also sounds like a winner.

See you at the festival!

SLC VegFest
Library Square, 210 E. 400 South, SLC
Saturday, Sept. 14, noon to 8 p.m.


Wasatch Community Gardens Tomato Sandwich Party
You Like Tomato, I Like Tomah-to

Kick off this year’s Eat Local Week with Wasatch Community Gardens by sinking your teeth into an heirloom tomato and pesto sandwich at the annual Tomato Sandwich Party on Sept. 7, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Enjoy live music while enjoying this free event that includes kids activities. And go ahead, explore the garden (but please resist the urge to pick the gardeners’ produce!).

A tomato expert booth will be set up to answer gardening questions, and Slow Food Utah will help attendees sign up for the Eat Local Challenge.

Founded in 1989, WCG manages 16 community gardens, which give nearly 500 individuals and families the chance to grow their own fresh, organic produce. In its youth gardens, the nonprofit also helps more than 1,200 youth learn about growing and eating healthy food. Plus, they support school gardens at 10 Title I elementary schools, serving more than 3,400 students.

Wasatch Community Gardens offers 40 classes and hands-on workshops per year, educating more than 500 community members about growing and eating fresh, healthy food. Plus, they provide employment and job training at their Green Team Farm to women currently experiencing homelessness. (Jerre Wroble)

Tomato Sandwich Party at the Grateful Tomato Garden
615 E. 800 South, SLC, 801-359-2658,
Sept. 7, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

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