My Experience at VegFest

On Sunday, October 22nd, I decided to attend Boston Veg Fest. The Festival was located at the Reggie Lewis Track Center on the line between Roxbury and Boston. When I first decided to go vegan, almost 7 months ago, I only knew one other vegan. It felt very isolating to have so little personal interaction with others who were equally excited about the vegan diet and lifestyle. I was insecure ordering at restaurants and having to ask questions in order to ensure the food was vegan. I struggled to answer the questions of my family and often felt judged at family gatherings, especially those pertaining to food. The first holiday I experienced with my family as a vegan was Passover, a Jewish holiday that typically takes place in either April or March. During our Passover seder, my family encouraged me to “just eat a little bit” of the foods that contain dairy and eggs, pushing me to eat the rolls, bundt cake, and milk chocolate served. These suggestions made me feel that my choice to go vegan wasn’t fully accepted in my family. Over the past few months, I’ve found that my family has become more perceptive to veganism, often agreeing to try vegan dishes or restaurants even though they are unfamiliar to them. One of my sisters even decided to stop eating dairy in mid-October.

When I first decided to come to Brandeis, one of the clubs I was most enthusiastic about was VegClub. I was surprised to find that Brandeis had a community specifically organized for vegans and vegetarians and so excited to join. The club has held one potluck this year and has a second one coming up this Sunday, November 4th. They also encouraged their members to go to VegFest, offering shared uber rides with other Brandeis students. 

VegFest included a variety of food samples and types of food available to purchase as well as displays discussing topics pertaining to veganism and vegetarianism, such as animal sanctuaries, saving the whales, and healthy eating. The event also sponsored a variety of vegan clothing brands. Upon entering VegFest, we were greeted by volunteers from the Boston Vegetarian Society. The first sample we tried was NY style cream cheese by the brand Treeline. Treeline served a number of their signature cheeses in addition to the NY style cream cheese. These flavors included herb garlic, cracked pepper, and scallion. Of the options, my favorite was the NY style cream cheese. These cheeses were each made of cashews pasteurized to produce cheese in the same way dairy milk would be. The cream cheese tasted remarkably authentic in comparison to brands I’ve had in the past, Kite Hill and Daiya. Nuttin Ordinary also offered incredible samples of vegan cheese. Their most popular sample was the ricotta. The ricotta was made from tofu and nondairy milk. Although ricotta was never my favorite type of cheese before I went vegan, I felt that the thickness and the slight sweetness of the cheese were similarly embodied by the vegan version. 

In addition, I enjoyed the samples provided by the company LightLife. LightLife is a well-known mock meat company. At VegFest, they provided samples of their hot dog and chicken apple sausage. I’ve had vegetarian hot dogs in the past by the brand morning star. However, Lightlife provided a nondairy option. To my surprise, I found that I really enjoyed the vegan sausage, especially in comparison to the Hillarys brand chicken apple sausage. Another favorite of mine was the mac n cheese by Jennifer Lee’s Allergen Friendly Bakery and Vegan Shoppe. Jennifer Lee’s is located in the Boston Public Market (only a 10-minute walk from North Station). The mac n cheese is made from their special cashew cheese sauce. It vaguely reminded me of the sticky quality of kraft mac n cheese. The Taza hot chocolate also tasted remarkably like typical hot chocolate and their hot fudge was also incredible. I would also highly recommend Vegan Treats. Unfortunately, Vegan treats is very far away, located in Bethlehem, PA. However, I would easily drive up there for another one of their amazing pumpkin cannolis. Although the food samples were a unique aspect of VegFest, seeing the diversity of attendees and the numerous community resources offered at the event enabled me to embrace the positivity and uniqueness of the vegan lifestyle.