Caryn Haller

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September 18, 2012
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Living sustainably

The tomato tasting event brought Curt Mitchell, 21, to Lampe Park on Saturday, but the exhibitors, presentations and activities kept him there.

The sixth annual Green Living Festival boasted 36 booths and drew hundreds of people to learn about sustainable living and renewable energy.

"I came because of the Full Circle Compost tomato tasting, but when I looked at the schedule and saw the star gazing and solar stuff I thought I've got to see it," the Gardnerville Ranchos resident said. "I think the solar ovens are cool because I'm a camping guy. We have a garden at home, and I skateboard everywhere. I try to do my best."

In the discovery center, 11-year-old Kathya Baltazar took a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies out of a solar oven.

"It takes about 10 to 15 minutes. They are very gooey," she said. "I think solar ovens are better than regular ovens because they use less energy. It shows you how cool it would be and easier if you didn't have electricity."

Norah Gastelum said there are hundreds of templates online to build your own solar oven.

"I cook in my solar oven all summer long," she said. "I make bread, roasts, chicken, vegetables, potatoes, rice."

Dressed in tails and a top hat, Dr. Solar taught the children about recycling, safe energy and natural foods.

I'm a safe energy advocate. I've lived 20 years off grid on solar power," he said. "It's a modern vaudevillian show except it's all solar."

Cindy Ong of Sacramento and her father, Jim Nicklos, of Gardnerville sampled some of the more than 60 tomato varieties offered in the Nevada's Great Tomato Tasting.

"The Giant II is my favorite so far," Ong said. "I like sweet tomatoes. They enhance the sandwich."

The seeds from the top 20 tomatoes picked will be saved and used in Full Circle Compost's seed swap in February.

Daniel Huizar, 7, enjoyed using the bike blender to make a smoothie.

"We peddled the bike and it made a smoothie," he said. "It was good. It was strawberry banana."

His mother, Onaleiah Delabarra, also enjoyed all the free activities offered at the festival.

"It's nice to have free stuff where the community can come together and learn new things," she said. "I like that the kids can participate. The solar ovens are awesome."

Anna Jackson of Minden bought a bottle of sweet and spicy thai chili sauce from the Wildtree booth Saturday.

The 20-year-old was surprised by how many local vendors there were.

"I like seeing all the local vendors," she said. "I didn't realize Carson Valley had such a big market for local foods and stuff."

According to exhibit coordinator Katherine Winans, exposing people to a green living lifestyle is the goal of the Sustainable Living and Renewable Energy Roundup group, which sponsors the festival.

"We have our annual meeting in October and start working on the next year," she said. "I want people to have the knowledge that there are businesses around here that can help them live sustainable."

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The Record Courier Updated Sep 18, 2012 05:25PM Published Sep 18, 2012 05:21PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.