The Unfancy Food Show, a celebration of local, artisanal food and tastemakers, has enacted its third triumphant year at the East River Bar in Williamsburg on Sunday. Launched by Tom Mylan and Sasha Davies as the underdog fest to the Fancy Food Show, also taking place this weekend, the festival has become an unique tradition of its own, and popular attraction for die-hard foodies and drop-in neophytes alike to meet and eat. I wish there was one every weekend.
Many of the food-makers displaying their goods are based in Brooklyn, but I’m sure this is not merely the reason why such a strong community has been forged amongst them. Sharing similar values on quality, natural ingredients and a supportive neighborhood vibe, these producers are always game to mingle and spread the wealth of good food throughout the borough, and beyond. Last year, many of these same folks showed up; this year, the mojo has become more widespread, welcoming many newcomers into the fold — such as one of this year’s hit food booths, Mama O’s Kimchee, a lovely family-owned outfit (they gave me a free pack of kimchee as they were packing to go!) — while veterans unveiled new additions to their offerings, such as McClure’s Pickles‘ grainy mustard. A testament to the extraordinary growth of home-grown food and urban gardening in the past year might be that three new organzations at the show featured their own freshly grown produce, and promote farming through educational workshops: Queens County Farm Museum (responsible for those cucumbers all over the place), Eagle Street Rooftop Farm (with tons of roof-grown produce for sale) and The Greenhorns (selling farming guide kits and giving away tomato plants).
Last year, I met one of my food writing heroes, Julie Powell, at the Unfancy Food Show, and this time, I got to chat her up again as she was selling copies of her book Julie & Julia with its exciting upcoming movie adaptation tie-in cover. It was also neat to see some cross-over between food event promoter and food maker, as with Rachel Graville, the Events Manager for Edible Manhattan, who was giving away bites of her newly launched beef jerky line, Gerald’s Jerky (named after her dad for his signature recipe). Most exciting development of this year’s Unfancy Food Show, though? The massive bulge of Taylor Erkkinen’s tummy, who’s due in less than two weeks. As one half of the husband and wife-owned kitchen store, The Brooklyn Kitchen, she and Harry have had much to do with creating such a passionate local food community (and I don’t think you’ll make it too far in this blog’s archives without stumbling across them). This is the future of Brooklyn food royalty!
(Apologies to the many vendors not mentioned or shown in the slideshow, but whose grub was still great — all of which are listed and linked in this Brooklyn Based announcement.)