Local Food Trends from 2011
It’s hard to believe that 2011 is coming to a close and 2012 is just on the horizon. Of course there have been several food trends that have dominated the culinary scene this year including early 1900′s cocktails, offal cooking, bike food delivery, restaurant gardens, haute dogs, french macarons, more food trucks, popularity of charcuterie plates and more – but things are a little different in the local scene. The local food “trends” keep bringing us back to the basics and the wisdom from past generations.
My Top 10 Local Food Trends from 2011:
- Kale – Kale has received lots of attention this year. Perhaps you have seen the “Eat More Kale” lawsuit, read the “Kale is the New Beef” article, or experimented with the “Top 10 Ways to Try Kale”. The conclusion = kale is here to stay and it’s moved from plate garnish to superfood.
- Local Honey – Local honey actually works for allergies. From the backyard, roof, roadside, or farmers market – local honey is becoming easier to get your hands on. Take a spoonful everyday to build up your immune system against local allergies.
- Preservation – Canning isn’t scary and freezing is easy. More and more young people are calling up their grandmothers and learning how to preserve their food, so come winter they can enjoy the pleasures of the summer harvest.
- Farmers Markets – more and more markets are popping up all over the country, but are there too many? We need to invest in more farmers and infrastructure to meet the demand of local food consumers before adding more farmers markets. So make sure to continue supporting your local market, and help it grow.
- Living European – People in cities now have access to Farmers Markets several times a week along with local bakeries, local cheese shops, and local butchers. Buying your food for the day or a couple of days is catching on as people desire food that is uber-fresh. Bulk shopping is becoming a thing of the past.
- Affordable Local Restaurants – It’s been proven over and over again that restaurants can source their ingredients locally and still make it affordable. Local meal options under $10 are starting to appear on more menus and have even become the inspiration for many new restaurants.
- Beets are good – I’m not talking canned beets or pickled beets, I’m talking farm fresh beets. Variations of roasted beet salads are appearing on more menus, and I know at my house we eat them about once a week. Paired with a little citrus and goat cheese – these babies are delicious and so good for you!
- Technology made it to the Farm – Does your farmer accept credit cards at the market using Square from their iPhone? Can you pre-order your meat online from a super hip website? Yes, farmers and local food business owners have stepped over to the dark side of technology to make it easier than ever on us “city-folks.”
- Local Alcohol – If you live in California, this is no news to you. However, for the rest of us – local alcohol is a new concept. Moonshine from Arkansas, Whiskey from Tennessee, Gin from Portland. Wherever you live, seek out the local alcohol near you and visit a winery or distillery.
- Urban Homesteading – Do you know someone who has a city garden, grows roof top vegetables, owns citified farm animals, or makes their own soap? Chances are you do. Urban homesteading has taken off like crazy and you might just see me exploring this is the future.
So there you have it. A wrap up of the local food trends of 2011. What other trends have you noticed this year?