Local Foods Top List Of Food Trends
By Mickey Howley
Just published by the National Restaurant Asso-ciation is a survey of the nation’s chefs for the Top 10 Food Trends for 2011. Number one on the list is locally sourced meats and seafoods. The next four are locally grown produce, sustainability, nutritionally balanced children’s dishes, and hyper-local (own butchering and restaurant grown) foods. Also in this top ten list are sustainable seafood, gluten/allergy free foods, a trend to smaller portions, an emphasis on simplicity and back to basics, and farm/estate/ranch branded foods.
It seems to me that there is a strong emphasis through out this list on “local.” Local produce, local meat, local seafood all figure as strong trends. Main Street has established the local Farmers Market as a seasonal venue to make more local produce and local products available. In addition to food, games, music, arts and crafts the Main Street springtime street fest highlights locally grown foods. It has always been a real push for the farmers to have produce in the first week of May. They try hard, but sometimes the weather just does not co-operate. This year the festival is Saturday May 7th. And we are adding a local seafood aspect to the fest. You say there is no local seafood? You are wrong; springtime is the height of the crappie season and Water Valley is the home of the World’s Largest Crappie. People often forget that our local lakes are truly great fishing lakes. And crappie is one of the finest eating freshwater fish around. As any of the many sportsmen (and women) who fish these lakes will tell you, crappie are great fun to catch on light tackle.
Something we learned from the past festivals is people and kids love to play games. So we will up our game action. We will have dominoes again, seems all ages love that. I don’t know if you saw the hula-hoop contest last year, but it is clear we have some kids with unbelievable hula-hoop stamina. Sack racing will be back. And we have a few more games in the works. One of the ideas we picked up at a Mississippi Arts Commission seminar on festivals was to have interactive art. Seems almost a no-brainer in Water Valley, as one of our strong points is we have a pretty good art community here. So, mark your calendars for May 7th and pray for good weather.
I mentioned last week that some folks from Main Street Baldwyn were here. I went to Baldwyn to see what they have been up to, especially to see their downtown lighting, sidewalks, and crosswalks. Their crosswalks are, if one can use this word for crosswalks, lovely. But we should feel a bit lucky, as Baldwyn does not have, yet wants what we have on our Main Street. Businesses like a restaurant, coffee shop, art gallery, grocery stores, dance studio, hardware store, drug store, printing shop, auto parts, gym, art school, etc… Of course, they had all that in the past and now they want it back. It is much harder to bring things back rather than just keeping businesses supported and going in the first place.