We're all familiar with what it means to “get real.” (Such as, in the Whole Foods parking lot.) But what does it mean to eat real? Well, according to the agenda of the Eat Real Festival, hitting Culver City on July 16th and 17th, it's about getting up close and personal with what's on your plate; getting to know the food that's grown right outside your backyard, as well as the people who grow it and make it.

The Eat Real Festival, which bills itself as having a state fair-type of vibe, is not your average gorgeapalooza. (Though eating as much as possible is generally encouraged at these types of things.) “But eating and drinking is only part of the fun,” festival founder Anya Fernald says in a statement. “We'll also put people in touch with their food by showing how it's made – from making jam, sauerkraut or bread, raising backyard chickens and bees, to seeing the artistry involved in butchering a steer or pig. We celebrate the very best southern California has to offer and will activate thousands of people to demand good food, all the time.”

Out of the almost two dozen scheduled activities, here are the few we find most intriguing:

  • A kraut-a-thon, for learning how to make sauerkraut.
  • Chickens in the City, in which participants will meet the Dare2Dream chicken farmers, learn how to build coops and tend urban chickens.
  • “Life on the Balcony's” Fern Richardson teaches how to grow food in small places.
  • Tomato sauce making with Evan Kleiman [KCRW's Good Food/Angeli Caffe]
  • Pretzel making with Aida Mollenkamp.
  • Pantry cook-offs from L.A. Top Chef former contestants and other local chefs.
  • Kimchi for All class with Lauryn Chun (of Mother in Law's Kimchi).
  • Foraging in Southern California, in which you can learn about some of the wild and abundant food that grows in our region.
  • Urban bee keeping demo and installations.
  • “The Future of Food Writing” panel moderated by OC Weekly's Gustavo Arellano.
  • Butchery competitions with Lindy and Grundy.
  • An educational farm-to-table story which focuses on sustainably-raised whole cows purchased for use and consumption at the festival.

And of course there will be plenty of food offerings as well. A hefty handful of food trucks will be on hand, including Global Soul, The Hungry Nomad and Komodo, as well as a large food marketplace full of pop-up vendors. The best part is, this is the only portion of the festival that will cost anything. Aside from food and goods purchased, entrance is free, as are all demonstrations and activities.

The festival runs on Sat., July 16 from 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sun., July 17 from 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Helms Bakery District. Find more information at the event's website.

LA Weekly