Being Vegan at a Harvest Festival

Autumn is a time of harvest and, you know, harvest festivals. I went to a harvest festival today.  The Homestead Hollow Harvest Festival in Springville, Alabama, to be exact. I try to go every year, even though it’s basically the exact same from year to year.

For most people, one thing that keeps them coming back to events like these is the food. Sure, there are awesome arts and crafts to be seen and purchased.. But food is something that sticks to your tastebud memories for years. Here is what I have come to expect at harvest festivals:

First of all, if you live in the South, be prepared to deal with stupid comments from hunters and the like. For instance, today we saw this adorable little fella:

Gobble, gobble.

His name was Shrek. (No, really, it was.) While me, my sister, and her boyfriend were making googely eyes at the little guy, some redneck comes up to him and says to his pals, “Thar’s dinner right thar!”

It’s times like these when you wish some people would ignore the warning signs..

Second, expect most vegetable/bean items (even if they appear vegetarian) to contain animal fat/lard.

Now, I didn’t inquire about the contents of these cauldrons. But I can guarantee you there must have some kind of bacon grease or ham hock in these beans. That’s just how it’s done down here.

Over the years, I’ve become increasingly better at picking out the safe bets at places like these. First up is peanuts:

Uncle Salty here knows whats up.

Uncle Salty here knows what's up.

Now, it’s always safe to ask. But, generally, roasted peanuts, boiled peanuts, and peanut brittle are all safe bets when it comes to eating vegan. Plus, they give you a bit of a protein boost – which will be severely lacking in nearly any other festival food you might happen upon.

Look at those awesome prices!

Today I got a small cup of boiled peanuts (for $1!). They were tasty, but I wish they had had a cajun variety. I like heat! 😀

Talk about getting a bang for your buck!

Another safe bet, if the establishment isn’t sharing a fryer, are fries. Whether they be French, ribboned, or waffled, fries are just deep-fried potatoes. If you can find a vendor that doesn’t serve or fry any meat, your fries should be safe.

Today I got a plate of ribbon fries to share with my sister. These babies are so thin, they’re basically like eating potato chips with ketchup. Which is gross. So you should really just eat them for the novelty of it.

I also picked up an ear of fresh, roasted corn. These were roasted in the husk, so nothing was added to them. A cup of freshly sqeezed lemonade finished off this wonderfully healthy “meal”.

Picking corn kernals out of my teeth, 2008

Picking corn kernals out of my teeth, 2008

If you’re not into lemonade, or it’s particularly cold outside, you can order a nice cup of hot (or cold) apple cider!

Festivals are also a great time to pick up some locally canned and pickled items.

No, I didn’t buy any Butt Rub. But I did pick up some corn salsa and hot chow chow! I haven’t tried them yet. Perhaps I’ll review them soon. Also at the festival were vegan dip mixes and barbeque sauces.

Two other great and fun snacks to eat at events like these are kettle corn and cotton candy! Kettle corn is usually just popped with oil, salt, and sugar. And cotton candy is just pure sugar. Candy apples are usually fine (basically just a sugar/corn syrup candy coating), but it’s always safe to check. And, hey! That still counts as a serving of fruit!

Sad to say, but caramel apples will almost always have dairy. If they don’t, consider it your lucky day. I’ll be posting soon with how to make you own vegan caramel apples!

I believe I’ll leave this post with this little cute chicken:

I like to call him Henry.

Up next I’ll be blogging about being vegan at carnivals and fairs!

– Andrea

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4 Responses to “Being Vegan at a Harvest Festival”

  1. Nora Says:

    Mmmm apple cider! I love autumn festivals!
    What is the texture of boiled peanuts like? Never had them!

  2. Andrea Says:

    I’d say the texture is similar to that of a bean. It depends on how long they’ve been boiled, though. Sometimes they can be much softer 😀

  3. sb Says:

    I have found (especially in the south) that you have to be very, very careful about peanut brittle. Most of it (especially home made) will contain butter.

    • Andrea Says:

      That is true, and thanks for bringing that up! While butter is used a lot of the time, I would say (non-dairy) margarine is used just as much. It’s always safe to check the ingredients, to be sure 😀

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