The Hippo


Mar 17, 2018








Farmers markets and local products were trendy in 2014. Photo courtesy of Salem Farmers Market.

National vs. state trends

Many of the most popular culinary trends in the Granite State match up with the National Restaurant Association’s predictions for the Top 20 Trends in 2014, released in last year’s Culinary Forecast. The top 10 trends from the 2014 forecast included locally sourced meats and seafood (No. 1), locally grown produce (No. 2), gluten-free cuisine (No. 5), and sustainable seafood (No. 9) — all of which were on the minds (and menus) of Granite State restaurateurs, chefs and diners. Local sustainability as well as diet- and allergy-friendly menus and products appeared over and over again in Hippo food stories published in 2014, from the restaurants that source from local farms and fisheries, to new vendors catering to allergies, vegan and gluten-free diets.
What chefs said in 2014
Here’s how some chefs answered the question “What is the biggest food trend in New Hampshire right now?” from the Hippo “In The Kitchen” series in 2014. 
• “I think we’re trying to eat healthy. I think I see a lot of upscale salads with a light protein or a light dish. Not like the heavy pastas with the marinara, but something with a light cream sauce or a base to it.” — Johnny Wallace, Tidewater Catering and Waterworks Cafe in Manchester (from the Feb. 6 issue). 
• “Everybody’s doing locally sourced, because that’s still hot. Is it a fad? No, I don’t think it’s a fad. I think it’s a new way of living, so that will just be how you do it going forward. It’s just a common sense approach to mingling farming with dining and living.” — Michael Buckley, chef, restaurateur and owner of MT’s Local Kitchen & Wine Bar in Nashua, Buckley’s Great Steaks in Merrimack, Surf Restaurant in Nashua and Portsmouth and Surf Sushi Bar in Portsmouth (from the April 24 issue).
• “Well, the local scene is really, really big. The gluten-free scene is really, really big — and yes, that is a trend. Salt in sweet is pretty big, savory in your sweets is pretty big. Like we do salted caramel oatmeal cream pies, salted caramel whoopie pies; we do salted caramel pretty often. Sometimes we’ll put bacon in our chocolate chip cookies. We don’t take it too far, because this is New Hampshire.” — Alison Ladman, chef, baker and owner of The Crust & Crumb Baking Company in Concord (from the June 19 issue).
• “More and more people are trying to get local and sustainable. … The other thing I see happen a lot more is a lot more people are getting into butchery, which is great because I was lucky enough to work for a lot of old-time chefs and I learned a long time ago how to make my own prosciuttos — I have two curing right now.” — Charlie Cicero, chef at Buckley’s Great Steaks in Merrimack (from the July 17 issue).
• “Definitely healthy food; healthy and locally sourced food. Gluten-free — and you know what I’m noticing more and more now is dairy-free.” — Hale Cole-Tucker, owner of Tucker’s in Hooksett (from the July 24 issue).
• “I’d have to say probably locally-sourced food, which is great. I think a lot of people are kind of seeing the light when it comes to GMOs and the food that’s produced by the corporate giants without any consideration of what’s going into it. I like that trend.” — Kevin Cornish, chef and owner of KC’s Rib Shack in Manchester (from the Sept. 25 issue).
• “Barbecue. I was also going to say items cooked with bourbon — that’s very popular right now.” — Marc-Damien Hartley, chef at How’s Your Onion? in Derry (from the Oct. 9 issue).
• “Two things: It’s the farm-to-table, local organic products. … And probably smaller portions, like the tapas or small plates.” — Craig Squires, chef at Wellington’s Marketplace in Concord (from the Oct. 16 issue).
Coming in 2015: 
Top 20 Food Trends
The National Restaurant Association’s 2015 Culinary Forecast ranks the following as the Top 20 Food Trends for 2015 (see How many will trend in the Granite State next year?
1. Locally sourced meats and seafood
2. Locally grown produce
3. Environmental sustainability
4. Healthful kids’ meals
5. Natural ingredients/minimally 
processed food
6. New cuts of meat
7. Hyper-local sourcing
8. Sustainable seafood
9. Food waste reduction/management
10. Farm/estate branded items
11. Non-wheat noodles/pasta
12. Gluten-free cuisine
13. Ancient grains
14. Whole-grain items in kids’ meals
15. Non-traditional fish
16. Ethnic-inspired breakfast items
17. Nutrition
18. House-made/artisan ice cream
19. Fruit/vegetable kids’ side items
20. Artisan cheeses

Culinary trends in 2014
NH restaurants, markets and businesses prize local


It’s no surprise that sourcing and eating locally was among the top trends in the food scene in New Hampshire this year — it’s been a growing trend for the past few years. As restaurants partner with local farmers and fisheries, more cottage industry food businesses are also joining the scene and sourcing locally. New craft breweries and wineries opened in the Granite State this year (with still more on the way), and farmers markets extended their seasons.

Local, local, local
Supporting local business has come full circle among restaurants and foodie entrepreneurs. The locally owned restaurant is buying ingredients from the locally owned farm or local fisherman, so the money you pay for your dinner stays within your community. Likewise, next time you shop at a farmers market, note how many vendors are using locally grown or locally made ingredients.
“Local producers are making products with local ingredients,” Ann Vennard of NH Made said. “It’s just an enhanced collaboration between the local ingredients and the provider. … There’s tremendous brand loyalty to local products.”
Vennard said businesses are applying to become NH Made members every week, and she’s seen a surge in online activity on the new NH Made website, which launched in October. The site also features interactive social media content, including a bar of Instagram photos on its homepage where users post photos with #nhmade.
Restaurants are also getting ultra-local by sourcing ingredients on the property. Some have gardens right outside the kitchen door (including Buckley’s Great Steaks in Merrimack); others go to the rooftop, the parking lot or in the building itself. 
The Courtyard Marriott Grappone Conference Center has had beehives on its rooftop and last winter put a year-round greenhouse in the parking lot. The owners of Republic, Edward Aloise and Claudia Rippee (who are big proponants of farm-to-table), opened Campo Enoteca earlier this year  and make pasta on-site.
And its not just farm-to-table that’s popular, it’s the farmers markets that are growing, too.
“I have seen a good increase this year on people trying to support their local farms,” said Jane Lang, president of the New Hampshire Farmers Market Association and coordinator of the Salem farmers market. “What we’re seeing is that more and more people want to know where their food is coming from.” 
Some farmers markets stopped running this year, Lang said, but others have extended their season and are running year round or offering both winter and summer markets. 
That’s exactly what her market in Salem has done. It’s open every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. year round. But with the popularity of farmers markets also comes the challenge for vendors and farmers to attend a variety.
“When you speak of farmers markets, it’s not just about fruits and vegetables, it’s also about the jam person, the bread person, the small entrepreneur that’s doing a startup,” Lang said. “I think sustaining that is the challenge now.”
The awareness of the locavore movement and farmers market education also depends on the region, Lang said.
“In the southern tier, I know for ourselves, here in Salem, it’s a real challenge to get people educated about the values of buying local foods and local products, especially more so with our SNAP and EBT programs,” Lang said. “Seacoast people are so much more educated to buying local foods.”
Wine & beer
So what else happened in the food and drink scene in New Hampshire in 2014? A whole lot of drink — rather, a whole lot of wine and beer businesses opened. Plus, there were more local wine and beer tastings, events, dinners and availability in local markets.
Local craft beer had a strong year with the launch of Brew NH last winter, new breweries (including Able Ebenezer of Merrimack, Kelsen Brewing in Derry, The Lone Wolfe in Wolfeboro, Stark Brewing Company in Manchester, and Garrison City Beerworks, which just opened last week in Dover), a new location for Smuttynose in Hampton, more beer stores opened (including a new location of The Drinkery in Derry, a Craft Beer Cellar opened in Nashua, and Lazy Dog Beer Shoppe in Londonderry — which technically opened last December), and new brew fests, including the first annual Granite State Brewers Association Summer Fest held in Manchester.
Meanwhile, the Granite State lost a few wine stores (including Vino Aromas and The Wine Studio in Manchester), but gained more local wine. Copper Beech Winery opened earlier this year in Hooksett, as did Apollo Vineyards in Derry, and LaBelle Winery keeps growing with its Bistro options and opening of a new Winemakers Kitchen store in the Merrimack Outlets. 
As seen in the December 25, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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