Food Trends 2010: Part Five: A Farmer’s Perspective

Calling all farmers and food producers… chime in!

I am sorry and sad to say that my request to all of the farmers got stuck in my draft folder unbeknownst to me. Therefore, when I DID find it, it was sent out very late in the season and I have only four responses. However, I hope to update this post as other’s get their reflections to me. I will let you know in future posts when this is complete. For now, we have four very insightful and deeply thoughtful local farmers providing their answers to the same four questions:
1. What do you see as the major food trends locally (Edmonton, Alberta) for 2011?
2. What do you see as major trends throughout Canada and or the US?
3. What would your most sincere hope, wish, or desire be to see as a food trend in 2011?
4. Any other comments…

If you are one of MY farmers, or one of Kevin Kossowan’s farmers, and did not get an e-mail from me, check you junk e-mail box, please! For some reason, e-mail sees “A Canadian Foodie” as junk or spam all too often these days!

Jerry Kitt from First Nature Farms at Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market every Saturday

  1. Good questions.  In answer to 1. and 2. : I feel that the home delivery of organic and local foods will continue to expand as our need for real food that ‘touched the earth’ becomes more valuable in our increasingly busy lives.
  2. My wish?   I am hoping that the Monsantos and Cargills of the world shoot themselves in the foot and that plants the seed that starts a new revolution in our food system.  Control of our food supply needs to be in the hands of local producers around the world, not the pockets of corporations. My dream revolution would see to that. (Quite a wish eh?)
  3. Do you receive my “Farm News”?  If you would like to, just let me know.

Xina Chrapko from en SantéWinery at Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market every Saturday and at City Market in the summer

While I have you for a moment, here’s some advance news for you that will come out in 2011:  We’re renaming our winery and redoing our whole corporate identity.  The “En Sante” brand is appropriate for an organic operation that, moreover, is situated near the banks of Lac Sante; however, our name [needs a change. Look for that in the New Year!]

  1. After a few years (since 2007? 2008?) of slow’ish economics in Alberta, things seem like they might accelerate–or at least become more hopeful–in 2011, especially with the oil patch reporting more drilling.  In Alberta, if the years from 2003 through 2006 are any indication, that will likely mean more eating out and possibly more travel in peoples’ lives.  As a result, I would expect there might be generally more food experimenting and more exotic dishes on peoples’ plates.  “Money Meets Culture”, you might say.
  2. The so-called Great Recession caused us to catch a glimpse of the “dark side” and forced nearly everyone to do more with less.  As a result, there seems to be at least a temporary appreciation for NON-materialistic pursuits and more fundamental concerns about “community”.  Since Canada didn’t fare as badly as other parts of the world, we are living the contrast, if you know what I mean….and for now, the U.S. is doing better than, for example, its fellow members in the G-20 like Ireland, Spain, Greece and Portugal.  So, maybe in North America we’ll see more family-centered dining and more care put into the most basic aspect of our lives:  food.  I see this as part of a return to the basics, especially if the economists are right and the road to recovery is very long and slow.  My Mom, sister and I just returned (as one of Alberta’s invited representatives) from Terra Madre held biannually in Torino (Turin), Italy. At Terra Madre, it was very apparent that people in many regions of the world are going ever-deeper into Slow Food, Organics and the Eat Local movement….i.e. returning to the basics is not merely a North American fad: it is much more fundamental and (seemingly) quite global.  Or at least I hope so!
  3. I would ask Santa for stronger regulations and enforcement of food safety in general.  This takes many forms.  For example:
    • There are Farmers’ Markets that pretty much amount to ‘middle men’ for the Macdonald’s Consolidated of the world or for importers (not actual farmers).
    • As well, we hear and read about more GMO/GE food entering the supply chain which is especially bad when it does NOT come with mandatory, clear labelling.  I suppose that the large, integrated agri-industrial complex will forever hold sway in the corridors of power–partly by making threats and doomsday predictions if they get regulated–but it would be nice to see the “little guy” get a leg up by virtue of consumer insistence/demand for local, organic food.
    • And in developing countries, such a policy direction would allow people to feed themselves again in areas where this is not always the outcome and the consequences are tragic.
  4. I think another really important issue related to food is waste.  The impact of this is felt on so many levels
    • from how much food needs to be produced,
    • to waste at abattoirs,
    • to households,
    • to restaurants,
    • to the transportation of the waste to landfills, etc.
    • Land is precious and can produce only so much, so if we reduced the waste of what it already has produced, then we would not be trying to get it to produce more than its capacity especially when we take a long term view and consider the generations to come.

The saying “we do not inherit the land from our ancestors….we borrow it from the future” comes to mind.

Shannon and Danny Ruzicka from Natures Green Acres at City Market in the summer

  1. I think the trend will be artisan products that are a twist of the standard food fare. For example: not just local clean beef, but grass finished clean local younger beef (like our nouveau beef), or not just local cheese, but grass fed unpasteurized local cheese, or not just locally grown veggies and fruit, but endangered veggies and fruit locally grown.
  2. I think the same as above, but on a less intense scale. It will be the trendy thing to do but has the danger of becoming out of style once the artisan and endangered species (animals and plants) trend becomes more intense.
  3. I’m excited about what I see as the possible trend, so that’s what I hope for.
  4. I think there will be a lot more reliance on you, the local food advocate, for information and education on local foods and specialty products. As one of the many producers whom you’ve advocated for and encouraged with the passion in which you seek real food and seek to teach others about it, I want to say Thank You!

Jenny Berk Vriend from Sundog Organics Farm at City Market in the summer

I think that the food trends this coming year will continue to emphasize local. I also think there is a growing interest in healthier meats such as pastured and grass finished as well as more natural processing techniques. I also think hunting is experiencing a bit of a renaissance. Not really my thing, though it is certainly a better way to eat meat.

If you are a farmer or a producer, I want to hear from you! Please answer these questions, or just speak from your heart in the comment section of this post. Tomorrow, I plan to finish this series with feedback from “The Man on the Street”. Mel Priestly’s colleagues, and as many other people as we could find to get responses to these questions will be featured. Please e-mail me if you have something to say so that I can feature your insights, too!


  1. says

    Valerie, it’s been interesting to read everybody’s opinions and their point of views on these questions. I really appreciate you (and everyone you interviewed) taking the time to do this and share with us. I’d email you my answers, but they’ve already been mentioned. So I’ll just give you the short form here. Two words come to mind when I think upcoming food trends: local and organic. Also, whilst doing all my Christmas shopping, I couldn’t help but notice how many “sweets/bakery” places have/are opening up in Edmonton. As for question #3, I’d love to see better kiddy menus, and by “better” I mean less deep fried and more options. I’m sure adults would refuse their food too if we were limited to only 3 or 4 of the same options everywhere we went. Thanks for these posts, Valerie.

    Wishing you, Vanja, and your lovely family a happy new year filled with joy, good health, and great foodie adventures! Stalk ya in 2011 😉

  2. says

    I loved reading this perspective from local farmers! I don’t think we hear enough from them and yet I often think they are the ones who deserve the most “camera time”!

  3. says

    What a fantastic article. You constantly educate us and prod us to think – that’s the educator in your Darling :) And I am very grateful for that.

    I love the reversal back to local, artisanal, homemade, slow, un-messed-with foods.

    It’s what bloggers like us advocate everyday, all day in our daily life. I am so glad you are giving face time to these farmers who are the true heroes of the good-food-movement.

    Here’s wishing you a marvelous New Year VAL –

    Chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  4. says

    Well, Valerie, if more people were as active as you are into demanding answers that can and should educate the larger population…we wouldn’t be in this pickle, would we?

    Great post and lots to reflect on…especially on issues that aren’t always at the forefront.

    Happy New Year my dear and hope you realize your dreams ;o)

    Flavourful wishes,

  5. says

    I’ve never thanked you for bringing local food (and a deep appreciation of food!) to your readers before, Valerie, so THANK YOU! I loved reading these responses from local farmers. I’m so glad to hear that local, organic, slow food is becoming more prominent across the world, too.

    I would agree with what the other said about food trends for 2011: local, sustainable, more variety in ethnic foods. My wish for the world (and the US in particular), is that food is not so tied to politics and capitalism. Cheap food has become unhealthy food, and unfortunately, this economic distinction has ensured that many people will choose unhealthy foods over their local, healthier counterparts. Well, a girl can dream, right? :)

    Happy New Year, Valerie!

  6. says

    Over the past few years, I’ve gotten to know several local farmers in both Colorado and Texas. The conversations that I have had with them have been priceless…and the words that you shared today hold similar value. I especially appreciated Jerry’s thoughts about our food system. We do need to return control to local growers and communities! I also liked the discussion on waste. I was just thinking about how to reduce my waste this evening as I washed my face. Thank you for sharing with me tonight. I hope you have a wonderful Sunday.

  7. says

    Another fabulous article & very interesting to hear your local farmers speak. We don’t often get to hear their side of things. I have to agree, agree, agree… (can I emphasise anymore.., nuh, probably not) – politics have no place in the food chain, I along with the rest of the world were horrified to see what a huge footing corporations have in owning the seed. Ridiculous! No wonder the world is turning back to basics & preferring foods with good natural organic roots. I saw a huge move on back to ‘slow cooked foods’ last winter too here in Oz, it hasn’t taken a big foothold, but I’d definatly see it as a trend. Thanks for sharing again Val, truly appreciate it.

  8. says

    What an interesting post! I am so glad you got these four farmers to voice their opinions and will be expecting more to come; Happy New Year to you and your loved ones 2011~

  9. says

    Hey Valerie! Happy New Year! And what great post again. I love what Jerry Kitt said. That is pretty much how I feel about some of these big corporations (I don’t want to call them farms) that produce gmo foods. Yuck! Oh, and Ms. Jenny Vriend made a good point about hunting too. Not my thing either but a more wholesome way to get meat for an omnivore. It can also make the life lost more real for people-a sacrifice of sorts for our happiness and health as humans. I think that is lost when people just buy meat (and vegetables for that matter) at the store. Some kind of connection is lost when it comes to us and nature:)
    Anyway, great post as always!
    Your Friend,

  10. says

    perfect articles, I need to catch up on my reading here at your blog, I love that you focused on local farmers..they are really the people who work so hard to produce the most marvelous products for us to enjoy, many larger stores only focus on making money..I hope these ideas spread, spread and spread we all need to focus more on our food. thanks for sharing

    on your comment, yes every state in mexico has it’s own food flavors and preparation. thanks fro stopping by and your continous support.happy new year!

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