The Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, California, may be located in a densely populated region, but it hasn’t lost its connection to farmers and agriculture.
The fair’s 2018 theme was “Free Your Inner Farmer,” in recognition of Orange County’s history as a rich agricultural region full of citrus, strawberries, and other cash crops. The fair hit a record-breaking attendance of close to 1.5 million guests across its monthlong span, and not everyone was there for the pig races.
I participated for the sixth year in a row, pushing the cannabis envelope by demonstrating how to cook with hemp and CBD.
My demonstration aimed to show people how to include hemp and CBD in their diets. Though I wondered back in 2013 if audiences would be open to learning about hemp history, I found that even five years later, my topic still had interest.
As an experienced chef who can prepare vegan and vegetarian dishes whenever and wherever there are hungry guests, I’ve come to see myself as something of a “guerrilla chef.” The fair is no different.
The fair’s Culinary Arts Department recruits chefs to present cooking demonstrations that help highlight local flavors and the yearly theme. It was a perfect opportunity to speak about the varied aspects of hemp as a food source, and how adding CBD to your diet can help improve health and well-being.
It was my goal to share and educate while guests taste hemp, tofu, and CBD dishes. I introduced guests to facts and statistics about my cooking and the ingredients, including information about how hemp seed has omega-3 fatty acids and is a complete protein source containing all nine essential amino acids. Given the fair’s many fried food options, I made sure to mention that CBD added to the diet will assist in digestion.
I demonstrated how to prepare my recipes for a tofu arugula salad with a fresh strawberry vinaigrette, and a chocolate strawberry coconut pudding. With more than 175 people in attendance for the demo, I had my sous chefs Julie and Diane pass out samples to eager guests. Many questions at the end of the demonstration were about the benefits of CBD and where to buy it.
I also spoke about the history of hemp in America, including that George Washington encouraged farmers to grow hemp and that Betsy Ross’ first American flag was made of hemp fiber. I discussed the need for CBD accessibility and to educate people about its benefits. I made a case for how it would be positive to explore hemp as a food source.
I felt that my quest to reach people from all walks of life to educate them about hemp and CBD was a success. I believe that if we begin to share more cannabis education with a broader spectrum of society, more people may be open to the use of hemp, and perhaps cannabis products in our diets and lifestyles.