Food Trends for Farmers, Foodies and Food Producers, Part 2


Nduja Artisans salumi

Everything old is new again. At least that’s how it seems with some of the latest food trends nationally as we return even more to heritage cuisine and knowing where our food comes from.  Even traditional macaroni and cheese is getting a healthier makeover.

From plant-based proteins to pastas made from lentils, from charcuterie to single sourcing olive products, here are a few more food product culinary trends, with photography from John Ivanko, based our trip to the annual National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago or popping up at grocery stores or in restaurants nationwide. This is the second article, following up our post last week.

Charcuterie and Salumi

While charcuterie and salumi has been used historically as a form of meat preservation (and for many homesteaders it still is), it’s experiencing renewed interest at restaurants around the country. Today, it’s often a regular menu item, usually listed as an appetizer, but sometimes featured as a main course. With continuing interest in knowing your farmer and, in this case, rancher, charcuterie is hot. Just as artisanal cheese first came onto the market twenty-five years ago, charcuterie is the next “new” thing from a traditional form of preservation.

At its core, charcuterie is a collection of techniques that in different ways aim to limit the growth of the bacteria that then causes food spoilage. Typically, this means taking away oxygen and moisture so bacteria can’t grow and make the food go bad. Salt, the world's oldest preservative, is, therefore, also one of the main tools in charcuterie. Salt draws moisture out of foods, which makes it more difficult for bacteria to thrive. It also draws water out of the bacteria themselves, which kills them.

A quick vocabulary lesson: “charcuterie” refers to cured meats in the French tradition while “salumi” describes cured meats in Italy. Therefore, salami is salumi if it’s made in Italy. Different cultures and regions have various traditions of such meat preservation. The tasty news is that in today’s globally connected world, we can increasingly experiment, sample and learn from these various techniques.

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