Berkshire nutritionists, chefs, bakers, market managers and owners have predictions, and wishes for how best to eat your way through 2013.
Part-time Stockbridge resident Joy Bauer (www.joybauer.com), resident nutritionist for NBC's "Today" show, predicts seeds -- chia, pumpkin, sunflower -- will become the year's supersnack and that plant-based proteins like beans, brown rice, chickpeas, hemp, lentils, peanuts, peas, and quinoa will become more popular. She says to look for cereals, energy bars and shakes that rely on these protein-rich plant sources.
Bauer also sees grains more exotic than farro and quinoa -- like freekeh and kaniwa -- becoming very popular. She suggests people eat more black lentils, Arctic Char, kefir, chia seeds, tempeh, quinoa and ricotta cheese to get their protein.
Popcorn drizzled with everything from chocolate to hot sauce and vegetables starring in desserts like tomato sorbet and corn créme brulée are also on her prediction list. She says antioxidant-rich natural cocoa will flavor everything.
Her most hopeful prediction, though, is that "processed food will clean up its act," with "shorter, cleaner, simpler ingredients lists."
Art Ames, general manager of Berkshire Co-op Market in Great Barrington, which is working on a move/expansion to take place late in 2014, said the co-op will have more charcuterie (European cold cuts), heritage beef,
Michael Ballon, chef-owner of Castle Street Café in Great Barrington was inspired to expand his winter prix-fixe menu by a recent stay in France.
"The duck confit with the crispy potatoes was inspired by a dish I had there. That duck schmaltz is great stuff," he said with enthusiasm. The duck fat trend spread over New York a year or two ago. Now, it sweetens Berkshire food.
Café Adam chef-owner Adam Zieminski of Great Barrington, who expects to move to a larger space across the road at Jenifer House Commons in early spring, said "smaller plates are becoming more popular. Thinks tapas but with Berkshire ingredients."
He said he gets so many requests for gluten-free options that he created a gluten-free cookie.
Zieminski also envisions Berkshire restaurants raising their own food "in outside beds, on rooftop gardens or on land owned elsewhere; possibly inside with grow lights for sprouts and herbs." He suggests restaurants to give scraps to farmers to feed their livestock, to compost and to recycle waste, all methods, he said, that have saved Café Adam thousands of dollars.
Chris Bonnivier, chef at Gala restaurant at the Orchards Hotel in Williamstown, said he sees diners eating smaller plates and lighter food.
"My thoughts are always go and stay local, on the lighter side with healthy grilled fish and salad type accompaniments," Bonnivier said.
Sherri Gorelick and Wendy Weinberg of Barrington Bites mini-cupcake counter in The Chef's Shop in Great Barrington are developing savory cupcakes for 2013.
Route 7 Grill owner Lester Blumenthal is adding more comfort foods and a Sunday night prix-fixe dinner to start the year. Route 7 is also curing its own charcuterie and pickling and preserving vegetable go-withs.
Joe Nejaime, owner of Nejaime's Wine Cellars in Lenox and Stockbridge, will be expanding his Lenox shop to include "more seasonal produce, charcuterie and locally produced wines, spirits and craft beers and ciders."
Barbara Zheutlin, executive director of Berkshire Grown said, "There is a growing concern by everyone about where food comes from: ‘Where did this apple come from? Where was this chicken raised? Where and how and by whom? What am I feeding my children?' "
Greg Roach, prepared foods manager of Wild Oats Market in Williamstown -- who is going back to southern roots on his dad's side by starting 2013 with black-eyed peas -- also believes more and more Berkshirites want local food.
"They will join CSAs and insist that their markets and restaurants source as much local product as possible. The return to basics movement is more than a trend," he said.
Sylvana Bryan, Pittsfield Public School food service director, said she said she and her staff are going "back to the basics," doing "more home cooking, less processed foods in the schools; more varieties of fruits and vegetables. That's what's what we're offering in the schools."
"We do whole wheat pizza shells in house, home-baked whole wheat rolls and fruits of all sorts are "an easy sell because they are naturally sweet."
Thomas Barstow, natural foods manager at Guido's Fresh Marketplace in Pittsfield and Great Barrington, said he sees an increased interest in detox, whole and raw foods. He also noted, "There is a ‘tasty revolution' within the gluten-free movement as a result of increased use of new and delicious whole grains such as amaranth and millet."
Carole Murko of Stockbridge, creator of Heirloom Meals, said she plans "to continue to eat local, seasonal ingredients, to eat less meat and more beans and vegetables as our ancestors did, cook more with family and friends, savor every moment."
Finally, "Sproutman" Steve Meyerowitz of Great Barrington plans to launch the new year by taking a week off from food and leading a number of other "regular folks" in a fast.
"A yearly fast is housecleaning for the body," he said.