shutterstock_150842273bIf you hear the phrase “farm to table” and think “exclusive and expensive,” think again! This item on Restaurant.com President and CMO Christopher Krohn’s list of 2014 Food Trends is about fresh, not frou-frou!

The farm-to-table movement has been popular for a while in restaurants and at home and in 2014, it has a renewed emphasis on fresh ingredients and an eco-conscious return to the simplicity of eating fresh-grown food. Think seasonal produce, honey-sweetened desserts and alternative meets like goat, lamb, and dark-meat poultry. Many restaurants work with local farmers, while others go so far as to have their own small farms or vegetable gardens.shutterstock_149186453

One of the best parts of this trend is that fresh ingredients really are the best ingredients. We’re talking your grandmother’s wholesome, homemade marinara sauce with fresh-picked basil versus a canned, processed imitation. The tomatoes are juicier, the spices are more poignant and sustainability is just a bonus!

iStock_000004608222SmallHere are some of our favorite farm-to-table treasures to look for on restaurant menus from this 2014 trend:

Seasonal Veggies – From summer strawberries, pumpkin the fall and winter vegetable medleys, you can’t go wrong ordering menu items that center on the season’s star produce. Even restaurants that don’t typically follow a farm-to-table format will have some variation of this trend, so pay attention to those specials of the day.

Alternative Meats – Pork belly might sound different, but trust us on this one: it’s just bacon in primetime. Free range chicken is a great choice for more conservative diners, but don’t be afraid to sample goat, rabbit, lamb or elk. A restaurant that cares about fresh ingredients is your best chance to sample a new protein.

Fresh Baked Breads – Cornbread, buttermilk biscuits, pretzels and fresh French rolls all factor into this delicious trend, and they’re that much better hot out of the oven (if you were ever lucky enough to have a family member bake bread at home, you know what we mean!)

Whether you’re a stressed out city slicker or just long for a taste of home cooking, this is a trend you’ll love. Get started looking for farm-to-table fare here! Check out our Pinterest Page just for our Food Adventures that will whet your appetite for ideas for your next meal out!