As we look towards the New Year ahead, we here at Half Pint Farm have been recapping the food trends we took note of all year, and, as we pour ourselves some cleansing green tea in the preamble to a night of celebration, let’s look back on the foodie trends of 2013, which were super inspiring and a lot of fun! We informally proclaimed 2013 the “Year of the Veggie” amongst ourselves way back in February (should have said that one out loud, I now realize!), it really was an inspiring food year from this veggie farmer’s perspective! Our top 10 list of 2013 food trends – in no particular order. Ahem. 2013 was…
From over 200 vegetable-focused cookbooks published this year, to the countless articles in every food magazine, to the incredible food photography cataloged on every social media platform, 2013 was undeniably the year of the veggie. As a veggie farmer, I couldn’t have been more pleased by this, as the precious jewels that we grow and celebrate finally got their time in the spotlight; Colorful carrots! Eggplant! Heirloom tomatoes! Microgreens! They were everywhere and people were gobbling them up – chefs and customers alike, making 2013 our most profitable year to date! Go Veggie Power!
2. Year of Paleo
As diet trends go, I am actually far less annoyed by this one – as veggies are featured heavily in the canon of the Paleo enthusiast, but the focus on grass-fed and pastured meats are absolutely in line – this is the way we swing back from bacon-mania! And… Paleo also got several cookbooks out of this trend, but my favorite was by the bloggers at Nom Nom Paleo. Nicely done, friends!
I honestly felt that in 2013, local got its due. Not by being in the spotlight, but by being de rigeur. Local has finally reached the level of awareness that it should have – where the focus is less on the label, and more on the relationships with your food, farmer, cheesemaker & producer. Whether or not you know them personally, you feel that you do and you definitely know where it comes from. This trend is here to stay.
4. Year of Svelte Cooks & Chefs
If you haven’t taken notice yet, you should. Our role models in indulgence are now becoming our role models in moderation, and a deeper appreciation of food as not only fuel for the senses, but for our bodies. Several celebrity food icons have dropped dozens of pounds in the past year. More interestingly, I am personally aware of many local food role models who have done the same and committed to a new way of eating and prioritizing exercise, and they all did this very quietly and under the radar, and I believe this is a trend that only began in 2013, and will continue in 2014! Thanks for the inspiration!
Well, it’s about time! Ramen finally has gone from junk food to an experience, and I, for one, am truly grateful. It has just about everything you could possibly want: springy noodles, complex broth, toppings to tantalize, and then there’s that soft egg. I mean, damn. What’s not to love? Make this your next foodie project – impress your friends! More importantly, impress yourself. With ramen. Yeah, I know – it’s a bit of a mindbender, but trust me.
6. Year of Food Trucks
We all noticed them, they were everywhere. I admit that I never did make it to the South End Food Truck stop (Friday nights are tough for this farmer – early Saturday morning markets and all), but it truly seemed like an awesome gathering space. I did sample The Hindquarter fare at an Intervale event, and I was super impressed. I am more excited about what comes after food trucks, to be honest – what new restaurants that the business incubator that is the food truck create? I can’t wait to find out.
7. Year of Gluten Free
I have to say, since some of my dearest friends are facing a life without gluten, I am thrilled that the vehicle of GF has spotlighted some ancient grains that work for everyone, and we also have a whole new way to bake! There’s countless blogs, recipes and cookbooks out now on how to cope with a GF diet. I’m looking forward to a time when the grains used to satisfy the dietary needs of GF are mainstream for all of us. Go millet!
This is a fun one! Welcome back to the old standards – the martini, the gin & tonic, the negroni, the old fashioned… I am so relieved that appletinis and syurpy-sweet espresso chocolatetinis are so over. Ugh. Man, are the old standards classy. They make us feel like dressing up and going out for a night on the town; Spencer might even sport a necktie and suitcoat! What’s really fun about the classic cocktails is that now there’s the fusion of cross-libation techniques happening – and now we have barrel-aged cocktails, which elevate the originals and modernize them to our 2014 palates. Thank you, whiskey.
9. Year of Food Photos
Even I have to admit, this was pretty crazy, and perhaps a bit over the top… but it’s just so fun to share! We experienced so many incredible meals and ingredients and restaurants and techniques and skills of so many chefs – it’s really hard not to share the inspiration. So – I was actually gonna say “let’s lighten up on this a bit”, but then a world devoid of food pictures made me sad, so forget that notion, and let’s keep on going! I loved the year of food photos – there’s so many skilled photogs out there, keep on sharing!
Ok, while not exactly a food trend, I gotta include this one. Never before has interest in farming been this academic, practical, driven and possible for young people that did not come from farming families. I am proud to host many of these inspiring folks on our farm and talk to them at farming conferences – they have great ideas, addictive ambition and well-placed zeal. From academic programs to food-related Americorps stints to the Slow Food Youth Network (check these guys out – they are on a mission to spread the word around the world about the changing food paradigm), this is the most reassuring food trend of 2013, and one I know that will continue through 2014.
So there you have it! My breakdown of 2013 – enjoy your New Year’s Eve celebrations! Be sure to include in your Instagram photo some veggies, noodles and grass-fed beef all from your slender local chefs – perhaps obtained from a food truck, staffed by a young apprentice – followed up with a GF cookie, all washed down with a gimlet as you begin your night of revelry and welcoming the delicious things to come of 2014.