Adventures at ExpoWest

ExpoWest blew our minds! It was beyond everything we had imagined and will leave us with memories and laughs that will go down in the history of Love Grown Foods! To start it off, half of our team piled into Elby the Love Bus on Tuesday afternoon and headed west. The drive was stellar–we left snowy Colorado to discover sunny skies, 70* weather, and warm nights.

The drive was long…but we ensured that it was well spent. From Travel Scrabble, to movies, to necessary pit-stops (i.e. Dairy Queen) the 5 of us had some good times.

We stopped halfway around 1:30am in Flagstaff to catch some Zz’s. We pulled into Super 8 and piled in…what can we say, we have a small budget.

We rolled into sunny California Wednesday afternoon and instantly became pumped for the next 4 days.

When we realized how hot it was, it occurred to us that there was no way we could leave all of our product in Elby the Love Bus. With that, we scrambled to find a solution and Plan B. We looked into a storage unit and also into a cheap motel…as you probably guessed we love the cheap motels and lowered our standards even more and went from 8 to 6 and got a room at the Motel 6. To put it all into perspective there were 8 of us…6 sleeping in Elby the Love Bus, 2 sleeping in Motel 6, and a whole lot of boxes of LOVE filling most all empty space of our Motel 6 room from floor to ceiling! To say the least, it certainly wasn’t spacious. Nonetheless, it ensured loads of team bonding.

Thursday was set-up day. Jason and I got out of this by attending a lunch-in, but the rest of the crew was working up a sweat building boxes, putting tables together, and getting the LOVE BOOTH up and lookin’ good!

Think: one giant convention center filled with boxes, structures and people running around like crazy setting up everything from giant cups of yogurt to simple table-and-sign type booths…it was INSANITY! We set up our displays in the New Products Expo and in the Gluten Free Products Expo and hours later we were ready to rock! With little time to take a rest, we headed to Buca di Beppo for a team dinner…YUM!

Suddenly it was Friday…the day we had been preparing for and all I can say is WHOLLY GUACAMOLE! It was as if we were hit with…the LOVE BUS! Our tag-line: “Would you like some FREE LOVE?!” We had our teams of LOVE AMBASSADORS out and about early to spread the LOVE while Jason, Alex, Christine and myself were rockin’ the LOVE Booth. With an onslaught of people arriving as soon as the doors opened, the 8 hour day felt like 30 minutes…it was insanity! Our whole team was EPIC! We piled people into our booth…but needed it for how many mini bags we were passing out. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t need more LOVE?!

The 3 days blurred together…from celebrity sightings, to tasting SO MANY INCREDIBLE treats, to talking about why we are so pumped to be stoked to SPREAD THE LOVE of LOVE GROWN FOODS…when it all ended on Sunday we were certainly on system overload.

(Dave from The Buried Life STOKED on the LOVE)

(Fabio & the LOVE TEAM!)

It was a combination of exhaustion and an adrenaline rush…as the final minutes of ExpoWest ticked by, we turned up our tunes, started to sing along, dance, and be sure to finish strong. We even got our neighbors into it!

And just like that it was over. We tore down our booth in a matter of minutes (hard to believe considering it took hours to put up), cleaned up our space, and headed out. We sent our team home to Colorado and suddenly it was just the two of us. Whew!

HUGE SHOUT OUT TO OUR AMAZING TEAM! We simply couldn’t have done it with out the enthusiasm and energy of our LOVE ROCK STARS! Thanks for making us laugh, spreading the LOVE, and living the Love Grown Lifestyle!

The below is taken directly from the blog HUNGRY HUNGRY HIPPIE:

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“Of all the companies at Expo West, I think I was most excited to meet Maddy (and Alex) of Love Grown Foods.

Not only had I seen their delicious granola around the blogosphere, but I was familiar with their story – and both made me want to support their mission and help spread the love.

As the wife of a start-up company that’s still in it’s infancy, I’m a big fan of the way they dedicated themselves to their business and created success without compromising either the taste of their product or their principles.

The fact that Love Grown Foods is focused on a bigger mission – to bring healthy food options to schools and youth programs – makes me so happy.

I can’t think of a better cause than educating children and parents. Education is seriously lacking in this area, and as a result so many kids grow up without the knowledge about how to eat well to properly fuel their bodies. Yet these are life tools that help them grow up to be health adults. In the words of Love Grown Foods, “it is so much harder to reverse illnesses (ie type II onset diabetes and obesity), so we must ensure kids learn healthy habits that they will keep for life.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Thank goodness there are passionate leaders like these two. We need individuals with such unyielding efforts to help push the movement and change the world. [I know it sounds cheesy, but it really is the truth]

After lunch, I immediately made my way to the LOVE GROWN booth to meet Maddy and the rest of the team. Not surprisingly, she was just as sweet as ever, and I couldn’t help but be completely caught up in the excitement over their business success.

Did I mention there were samples involved in this meet up? Feeling the love!

Don’t mind if I do…

When I was making breakfast back home on Sunday, there was really only one choice.

Like any normal human, I opted to try the Oat Clusters & Love Cocoa Goodness flavor first. Who wouldn’t?

Gluten free toasted oats with delicious clusters coated in cocoa powder with dark chocolate chips…uhhhh…yeah.

See how big the clusters are?!

To be perfectly honest, I never ate chocolate cereal as a kid, but I’d imagine this is what it would taste like…with one MAJOR difference. Love Grown makes it healthy! Chocolate that doesn’t send your blood sugar surging through the roof? Yes, it is in fact possible – with only pure, wholesome, REAL ingredients and none of the sh!t in Count Chocula that makes your milk turn brown and your stomach turn ill (or fat).

Free of:

* Refined Sugar
* High Fructose Corn Syrup
* Trans Fats
* Hydrogenated Oils
* Artificial Flavors
* Preservatives
* Gluten
* Genetically Modified Ingredients

My first bowl was au natural – with nothing more than almond milk.

Chocolate chips? Clusters? Crunch? Yes, yes, and yes! We all know I’m picky about my friggin’ granola; so I’d say I’m a pretty good judge when it comes to these things.

I liked the first bite all the way to the last bite. The texture only softened a little bit while soaking in the milk and maintained every bit of it’s clustery crunch.

Flavor wise it was sweet but not in a make-your-head-ring kind of way. After finishing it I was neither bouncing off the walls, nor stuck in the couch cushions. That’s what I’d call a successful balance of sweetness. Somehow this flavor managed to pull off simplicity without being boring, which was most likely due to the chocolate chips. They were like hidden gems and it made the cocoa granola seem like a special treat.

For my second serving of granola, I heated it up for a few seconds. This slightly melted the chocolate chips (YUM!) and softened up the crunch. Then I added sliced strawberries on top.

Chocolate and strawberries are about as decadent as it gets. Right?

I’d be willing to bet Love Grown Foods makes it big time in 2011. I’m a major fan of their Oat Clusters & Love line. And I can’t wait to try all the rest of the flavors…Raisin Almond Crunch, Apple Walnut Delight, Sweet Cranberry Pecan, and Simply Oats…

Talk about feeling the love. :)

I wanna be part of the team that helps spread the LOVE! Educating people on how to live a full and healthy life has never been so delicious.

Were you allowed to eat sugar cereals growing up? My mom definitely didn’t buy us any, but even when we were free to choose our own (ie at a friends house, on vacation, etc.) I still wasn’t a fan of fake foods that dyed my milk. I much preferred Crispix, Grape Nuts, Raisin Bran and Quakers oats.”

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Read all of Elise‘s blog…she has fabulous resources for vegans, amazing recipes, and inspiring stories! Be sure to check it out: HUNGRY HUNGRY HIPPIE!

The below is taken directly from the EAT SOMETHING SEXY BLOG:

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“….I’m not going to lie, part of what I love about the convention is the people watching. Close your eyes and just imagine the types who attend a whole expo full of organic, vegan, preservative-free, fair trade products. Its a good picture, right?

But beyond the eye candy, the event magnifies many of the trends of the year in the upscale food world as well as those trends which will trickle down, over the next few years, to the masses….

…Granola, granola bars, food bars, meal bars, snack bars, kid bars, cookie-shaped bars and protein bars were, as one would expect, a huge component of the show. I liked one of the relative newcomers, Love Grown granola (in part because of their “lovely” name but I also liked the people who made it, their vision and, most importantly, their products’ flavor.)…”

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Read all of Amy‘s thoughts on the EXPO and check out her other sexy treats on her blog EAT SOMETHING SEXY!

Building our Booth

EXPOWEST is certainly not cheap to attend, hence the reason we did whatever we could to save money. Just as we built all of the furniture in our office, we hand built every single piece for our EXPO booth space! Monday night, before heading to EXPOWEST we spent the late hours of the night building our booth and laying it all out.

Yes, you could say it was a little last minute…we overcame some challenges, put out some fires (not literally), and had quite the brainstorm to ensure our set up and tear down would go smoothly. To say the least, it was a long night, but that is how team bonding happens. (That and driving from CO to CA in an EPIC RV, sleeping in a studio apartment, and dressing identically..!)

Love Grown Loves TOMS

This year for EXPO we ensured that our entire team looked like a team and was dressed from head to toe in LOVE…that’s why we all got TOMS Shoes to sport. TOMS is such a phenomenal company…doing phenomenal things…hence the reason we LOVE to support them.

The thing we did to make them extra STELLAR is that Allison branded each pair with the LOVE! Check her fingers!

Since slipping TOMS on after Allison had the honor of handing each pair out, both Alex and Jason have yet to take them off. Alex now has a new obsession…they are so hipster!