It's kind of the show before the show. Every Expo West, a large white tent gets set up in the parking lot of the Marriott hotel adjacent to the Anaheim Convention Center. Underneath, dozens of organic food manufacturers, procesors and importers offer samples of everything from blue agave to blood oranges.
There were easily more than 50 vendors present, almost all of whom will have booths on the show floor starting tomorrow, but this Fresh Ideas Marketplace - as it's called - gives these companies an extra chance to get in front of buyers looking for organic products and services (a number of exhibitors here were USDA-approved organic certifiers).
Among the more interesting items I tried were organic apple cider vinegar drinks (said to balance your pH and aid in digestion), as well as a whipped "cream" made of rice milk. If nothing else, it showed me that yes, a person can live his or her entire life eating organic, and not miss a single food product. The category has become that expansive. And judging by the crowds inside, you can't say enthusiasm for the organic lifestyle has waned. If anything, the exhibitors here seem more committed than ever to spreading the word that organic is a real value when it comes to personal health and the environment.