Our first big bacon festival was the Virginia Bacon Festival last month. Bruce and I packed the bacon-mobile on a Friday afternoon and set off from Conshohocken not really knowing what to expect or how The Bacon Jams was going to stack up. Laden with hundreds of pounds of sweet delicious Bacon Jam, we drove south. A few stops at Royal Farms (the kids from Baltimore told me their chicken was legit, but I never thought gas station fried chicken could be that good!), every annoying punk album I have that Bruce hates, and one beautiful sunset cruise over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel... and we made it! With the long drive behind us, we spent the night labeling jars and gaining wisdom from Bruce’s long-time friend and our gracious host, Rorey! You haven't seen the last of me dude!
The next morning was cool, but the sun rising over the back bay and the sighting of a great blue heron was all I needed to know this was going to be a great day. We set up our stand in the shadow of the storied Scope Center in lovely downtown Norfolk and waited for the masses.
They came fast and hard in droves- wave after bacon-crazed wave. Some people might think the best part about my gig as the Executive Chef for The Bacon Jams is cooking hundreds of pounds of bacon a day, tasting seemingly unending amounts of bacon for perfect texture, and going home smelling of savory bacon. They would be right, but a close second is going out into the market to feed people The Bacon Jams. Watching the transition from “Uh Bacon Jams…yeah right, what is that?” to “well, since I am at a bacon festival, I guess I should try it” to “thank you so much for bringing me out of the darkness and into the bacon light!” is truly gratifying. (So is turning the aforementioned massive cooking sessions into actual cash money, but I digress.)
It wasn’t all Bacon Jam tasting and selling. There was a plethora of awesome vendors sampling and selling everything bacon, live music, and a bacon eating contest where The Bacon Jams’ sponsored contestant took second! My family from Philly even showed up to sample the goods!
All-in-all, it was a great event for a great cause. People left with big smiles and bags heavy with The Bacon Jams, and we left with the confidence that people love our product and a firm knowledge that we would be stopping for more Royal Farms chicken on the way back.