On Your Table: Top 10 food trends for 2017

By Cathy BranciaroliFood Correspondent, The Times

According to the National Restaurant Association, local foods will be a hot choice in 2017. This is no surprise to Aimee Olexey of Talula’s Table in Kennett Square.

When asked if this was a new trend or a current way of eating, Aimee said that her mission of serving local food with a focus on seasonal products has been a long-standing tradition. She said she doesn’t look on this as a trend. Farmers markets in our area provide locally grown produce all year and none of it comes from South America laden with pesticides. Yes, you have to be conscious of what is in season and expect that you are not going to be able to asparagus in February or fresh corn in December, but there are plenty of choices year round.

Aimee said that she values food that is connected to the source, and that purchasing them from local purveyors is in service of the community. Purchasing produce, eggs or meat from a local farmer helps support local producers, and “should be the fabric of what we do”, she said.

Talking with a farmer at the local market and getting recommendations on how to use their products is invaluable, she said. Not only are some of these vegetables rare in the scheme of things, but they are extremely healthful. Loaded with Vitamin A, B, C and so on, they help provide healthier dinner ideas for Mom, Dad and Kids. For instance, roasting potatoes or Brussel sprouts seasoned with fresh rosemary sprigs and added to roasted chicken broken up into small portions can make a very filling and nutritious meal.

Humble ingredients like these are easy to to come by in the neighborhood mega-marts, but although they are available year-round they are not part of that fabric. “Folks assume that local products are expensive, but this is not the case,” said Aimee. “When more of us purchase these goods, they will come down even more in price. As it is they are totally competitive with the mega-marts.”

In addition to this, she is committed to Atlantic seafood, which she feels gets neglected in the farm to table movement. A plate of local oysters or mussels dressed simply with a mignonette dressing can be a delight. Just try Feby’s Fishery on Lancaster Pike in Wilmington on a Friday when the oysters harvested from the Delaware Bay are on sale for $1 each and you can see for yourself.

I enjoyed that three of the top ten trends involved local foods and hope you will try for yourself.

  1. Hyper-local sourcing
  2. Chef-driven fast-casual concepts
  3. Natural ingredients/clean menus
  4. Environmental sustainability
  5. Locally sourced produce
  6. Locally sourced meat and seafood
  7. Food waste reduction
  8. 8.Meal kits
  9. Simplicity/back to basics
  10. Nutrition

Cathy Branciaroli writes about her adventures in the kitchen on her award-winning blog Delaware Girl Eats

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