At this time of year I love to read about predictions and trends. It all started when I had a clothing company and was obsessed with color. Not that I consider myself trendy but there is something exciting about seeing how close I’ve come to predicting where we are headed. This year, I’ll have to say that MixedGreens is right on center stage when it comes to the food and the environmental trends. Everywhere I looked, whether it was Gourmet. com or the Grocery Manufacturers Association , sustainability, local and organic were right at the top of the list. These are trends that have caught the attention of the mainstream and appear to be here to stay.
Home-cooking, preserving, canning and keeping a root cellar are coming back into fashion. This trend is at least partially financially-driven and is a tricky area to navigate. You all may remember Sally’s tomato sauce fiasco. Hopefully in 2009, we can grow more of our own food. Then we’ll be able to enjoy our own bounty AND save money.
Speaking of saving money, spending $100+ to eat at a restaurant has become a luxury, as is giving big dinner parties. I expect to see more potlucks and simple dinners at home in the coming year. Easy comfort food eaten with friends and family feels like a nourishing way to compensate for fewer meals out.
2009 is not all about cutting back. Some small indulgences are here to stay. Local, artisanal brands are popping up everywhere — chocolates, wine and booze. Distilleries are not encouraged in Washington, but Oregon is seeing a revival in small, batch-made alcoholic beverages. There is a bill in our Senate, if passed, could help jump-start this new industry. Our Cocktail Study Club will be happy about that.
The benefits of feeding our children well is finally being recognized in homes and school districts. More thought is being put into not only having healthy food for kids to eat but also teaching them about where their food comes from and how to prepare it. Look for an increase in school gardens and kid’s cooking classes.
There are a couple of other trends that I think are worth taking a look at. One is an increased interest in food foraging. If you haven’t already, check out one of our favorite blogs, Fat of the Land. Langdon Cook, aka Finspot, takes you on all kinds of adventures to find food with great writing and photos.
Urban farming is already prevalent in our area but I expect to see many more front yards and parking strips being converted to vegetable gardens along the lines of Fritz Haeg.
It will be interesting to see how 2009 develops. Check back with us often for more food for thought and have a Happy New Year!