Yesterday, my little family and I made a trip up to Salt Lake for the Utah State Fair and to check out Utah’s Own Taste of Utah event. After attending and analyzing the event, there were aspects that I loved about Taste of Utah and areas that I hope will be improved for next year.

A reason why I love Utah’s Own so much is because of its promotion of local products. The best part about some of the local products I tried is their lack of High Fructose Corn Syrup and preservatives. Their food is high-quality and tastes amazing. I loved visiting the various booths to hear the representatives explain their foods’ lack of additives and High Fructose Corn Syrup.

I also enjoyed that this whole event was a part of the fair – there was no extra cost to learn about these local products and talk to representatives about what makes their food unique to all of the other brands out there.

I was surprised to taste some of the food and realize how good it actually tastes. For example, I realize how good fresh, homemade salsa is – it’s a summer favorite. However, when I go to the store and look at the salsa options, I normally decide to buy the store-brand salsa to add a little kick in my food. Now I know though, that some of the locally-made salsas are really good. They taste just like they were freshly made (and some go into stores the day they are made!) and have the perfect blend of spices to them. Fresh cheese is also good and the meats that were at Taste of Utah surprised me as well. They were tender, delicious, and were from animals that were allowed sunlight and not abused. I loved that.

There were also some dessert companies in attendance. Muffins, candy, truffles, cookies, and cakes were in the mix bringing some good sweetness to the fair. Although it is not a dessert, some Brazilian bread hit the spot for me – she had four different flavors and of course, the cheese bread was my absolute favorite.

Despite there being so many pros to this event, there were a few things that I hope will be improved for next year.  First, the number one thing that bothered me most was the number of flies in attendance.  Some companies, like the one pictured above and to the left, kept their food covered.  I was so grateful for that and was much more willing to stand and talk to them about their products and try them because I knew that 50 flies hadn’t just been by touching the food as well.  So thank you companies who covered your food!

A problem I had going into this event was the fact that I had recently attended Taste of the Valley in Provo.  The Taste of the Valley event was huge.  We waited in long lines to get a sample of some of Utah County’s restaurant’s most favorite foods and it was well worth the wait.  Many companies were willing to hand out good portions of their food to make sure we could sample and really taste their food.  So when I arrived at Taste of Utah at the fair, I was a bit disappointed to see that one small bite of a product was all there was to sample.  Granted, there were a few companies handing out whole Fat Boys and whole slices of bread, but for those who only allowed one small bite, it was hard to get a good feel for their food.

Which leads me to my next point.  Because of the fact that samples were small, once I had a taste of some spicy salsa, I couldn’t get the taste out of my mouth.  It was unfortunate because the rest of my samples tasted like spice.  It would have been nice to have some sort of palate cleanser, at least after the spicy foods to make sure I could fully enjoy the other foods.  A small slice of ginger would have been more than enough for me.

My last suggestion goes to the representatives for the companies.  There were a few people who I was really impressed with (but that’s not to say that there were not other impressive companies):  Utah Natural Meat, Gossner Flavored Milk, Cheese Bread Mania, Muffin Men, Miller Honey, Laurie’s Buffalo Gourmet, and Mineral Resources International.  Each of the people representing these companies were very friendly and willing to answer any and all of my questions.  In fact, as I approached these companies, they were often first to ask me to try a sample, explain their product, and hand me a flier if they had one.  Although I am not usually a fan of fliers, I was glad these companies gave me one because I was able to remember who they were after seeing 44 companies.  I enjoyed their friendliness and I liked that they seemed excited to be there.  For some companies, I would recommend really trying to sell your product.  Although many people were there for the free food while at the fair, I was sincerely interested in their products and willing to look for them in stores.  Unfortunately, because some representatives just sat at their booths, watching other people as I passed and some reps weren’t even at their stations, I am much less likely to buy their products because I was unable to get a good feel for their company.  So thank you to those companies who were willing to give the same speech over and over again to everyone who walked by!


Little Hands on the Farm

After the Taste of Utah, my daughter and I went over to Little Hands on the Farm, another Utah’s Own event.  In my opinion, it was fantastic.  Children were able to interact with 10 different stations, picking their own vegetables, riding a tractor, milking a (fake) cow, getting eggs from chickens, selling their goods, receiving money for what they had worked for (collecting food), and then going to a little “store” to buy some food with their hard-earned money.  I think it is a great idea and I hope they will continue this event each year!

*I was given admission into the fair from Utah’s Own. All opinions are my own.