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You would be right in thinking we’re not hugely into trends here at Growing Communities. But we’re always pleased when what we’ve always been doing suddenly becomes trendy. This year’s predictions of food fads range from the sensible to the down-right zany (chlorophyll lattes, coffee beer, cheese tea, insect candy bars). But here’s a few foods tipped to top the charts in 2019 that we can really get behind:
The popularity of probiotics is rising steadily as people are increasingly understanding the benefits of this ancient form of preserving and enhancing the nutrient content of foods. Gut heath is the new buzz-word. Pill-based probiotic supplements are losing popularity as people turn to more effective food-based forms such as the humble sauerkraut. Food manufacturers are starting to take notice, pumping active bacteria into everything from crisps to granola bars. But the good old-fashioned natural forms of probiotics, like saurkraut and kombucha are so much more effective. When buying fermented foods and pickles, always look for raw and unpasteurised products. A lot of industrially produced pickles are pasteurised, a process that kills off all the good bacteria and defeats the whole purpose. PaMa is our resident ferment specialist at the farmers' market, making a whole delicious range of organic and hand-made sauerkrauts, kimchi, kombuchas and even fermented hot sauce. Well worth a try.
CBD (Canabidiol - the active substance in hemp) has been growing in popularity for a few years for its calming healing properties. 2019 marks the year where the cannabis plant extract makes its way into the food & beverage industries. We may start to see CBD permeate into other formats such as yogurts, soups and even salad dressings. If you want to get the real deal straight from the hemp farm then visit Hempen at the farmers’ market. They sell CBD oils and butters that can be used topically, as drops or in your food.
Fungi have acquired what food marketers call a health halo and are expected to pop up in teas, desserts, snack bars and cocktails. Our weekly mushroom expert, Matt, of the Mushroom Table, can be found at the market every Saturday with a vast knowledge and often strange array of foraged mushrooms including puffballs, chicken of the woods, beefsteak and woodear. And he’ll cook up delicious mushroom sandwiches to order. So if you want to expand your mushroom repertoire this year, he’s your man.
Vegan continues to rise in popularity, as well as “peganism” which is a mixture of vegan and paleo diet. We're not advocates for any particular diet, but we're all for anything that gets people eating more veg! Whatever your reasons for changing your diet – be it health, environment or animal cruelty – the best thing you can do is eat local organic fruit and veg. Eating seasonal organic produce grown and harvested when it’s at its ripest gives you the most nutrients possible without the pesticide residue. You’ll find greater concentrations of minerals and anti-oxidants in organic fruits and vegetables. An added bonus is you’ll be burning less fossil fuels in the transportation, greenhouse heating, pesticide & herbicide production. It’s hard to find local food in supermarkets because economies of scale mean it’s not really worth it for small farms, so the best way to get your hands on local food is to visit your local farmers’ market or join a local veg box scheme. The advantages of a box scheme is you end up trying a whole new range of vegetables that you that you wouldn’t usually buy, so it expands your range and makes your cooking more adventurous. If you’re in Hackney give our veg box scheme a try. Or visit the Better Food Traders to find a similar scheme near you.
Fats are back in fashion again – especially the saturated, animal-based kind. So margarines and vegetable oils are out and butter, ghee, nut butters and coconut oil are in. Food regimes like the Keto diet which is a low-carb, high-fat diet has really embraced fat in a big way - lots of butter, nuts, cream and meat and very few vegetables are involved in this diet. So if that’s your bag, get down to the market to get your grass-fed, free-range meats, dairy and cheeses. Organic milk and meat typically has 40% more omega 3 fatty acid & organic milk has 40% more linoleic acid which makes it easier to digest. Hook & Sons sell their lovely unhomogenised milk, butter, cream and ghee at our farmers’ market. It’s probably the healthiest milk you can find and Londoners come from far and wide to buy it. And you can bring your own bottle and fill it up yourself at their stall.