When people hear the word “vegan,” they may immediately think of meatless foods — portobello burgers, nut cheeses and soy products galore.
Yet not eating meat, eggs or dairy is only one facet of a vegan lifestyle — and the upcoming Long Island Vegan Extravaganza Winter Session at Huntington Station’s Walt Whitman High School will offer a deep dive into vegan products and wellness, as well as plenty of vegan snacks.
On Saturday, Feb. 10, over 50 exhibitors — from restaurants and bakeries to those that make apparel, art, jewelry and cosmetics — will gather inside the school’s gymnasium to share food, products and information, with yoga classes and health presentations taking place in classrooms.
“Veganism is the way you live your life, and it’s about health, the environment and animals. I wanted to bring those all together,” says Christopher Muller, an organizer. Because vegans strive for a cruelty-free life by choosing food and products that do no harm, they may avoid leather and wool, and even makeup that’s tested on animals. “Our vendors represent all aspects of that,” he says.
Muller stopped eating meat eight years ago, he says, and then became vegan three years ago: “When I went vegan, I lost 50 pounds. It’s just a healthier lifestyle.”
This is the second Long Island Vegan Extravaganza session; the first, also at the high school, was an outgrowth of the group’s organized meetups. “A couple of us were going to events and thought, why don’t we have one on Long Island?” Muller said.
The August event attracted 600 people, double the number of people expected — a testament, perhaps, to swelling numbers of vegans (and the vegan-curious) on the Island.
SAMPLING OF VEGAN FARE
Among the food vendors at the upcoming event is Pleasant Petites, a raw and vegan wholesale bakery based in Amityville. Owner Bobby Nagelberg, also a co-organizer of the event, plans to sell lemon bars, peanut-butter brownies and his Ultimate Cocoa Krunch — “my version of a Kit Kat,” says Nagelberg, who uses raw cacao powder and raw cacao butter in his products.
“I’ve always loved dessert-type foods, but as a vegan, I couldn’t find any that weren’t full of refined sugars. So I started messing around” with baked goods, Nagelberg says.
He began selling his products two years ago and found an audience: “As the vegan movement has grown, more and more people are aware of what they’re putting into their bodies, and where the ingredients come from.”
Other food and drink vendors include Coastal Craft Kombucha of Oceanside, Nautilus Roasting Co. — a coffee vendor based in Huntington — and Rocky Point’s Beers Burgers Desserts, which will offer pitas filled with gyro-spiced falafel, dehydrated olives, vegan tzatziki and vegan cheese, cucumbers and a house-fermented hot sauce made from red jalapeños.
Long Island Vegan Extravaganza Winter Session
WHEN | WHERE 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, at Walt Whitman High School, 301 West Hills Rd., Huntington Station