It’s getting towards the end of summer with daylight not lasting quite as long and the kids packing up backpacks and returning to early morning classes. But with that change comes the seasonal transition to fall and the sweet essence of the harvest season.
So before all of your spontaneous, ‘summa’ celebratory impulses get extinguished with back-to-school and back-to-work busyness, how about one more party! This one is for all of the gardeners out there that maintained an edible garden throughout a hot summer, went to battle with pests and weeds and have come out victorious! This is your time to celebrate your connection with growing and eating healthy food and to share this passion with family and friends.
For those of you considering this idea…keep it simple please! After all, it’s been a lot of working tending the garden, you don’t need the celebration of the bounty to be overwhelming!
Get started by setting a date with your people and then look for a few recipes that utilize ingredients from your garden, perhaps recipes that enable your fresh produce to be the “stars” of the dish. If some of your guests also enjoy growing food, invite them to participate in the fun by putting together a drink or dish that represents some of the “stars” of their garden. Keep it optional though, as the intent is to learn new ways to prepare food grown in the garden vs. a potluck party.
Next, think about your site. Where do you want to hold this soirée? Outdoors is a must and the likely choices of patios or decks located near the kitchen are solid. However, don’t be afraid to get a little unconventional and try the lawn or a space near the garden. Picture a low table with big comfy cushions on the grass or near the garden. This could make for a very relaxed, intimate affair. And after dinner, (once a little back support may be nice), you could settle into dusk on the patio with a drink or dessert.
When the time comes, add some personal garden style to your table. Simple bouquets of herbs mixed with flowers from blooming perennials or annuals are a great addition. If you enjoy gardening with succulents, small containers of these plants are delightful and can be put together in advance. Even past-bloom plants such as (coneflowers, alliums, garlic stalks) can add structural interest to your table. Plenty of votive candles, vintage glassware and pretty blankets or tablecloths emphasizing a favorite color in your garden, can represent your personal style while adding ambience.
More than anything else, enjoy your flavor affair! Although the possibilities are endless, from garden-infused cocktails to grilled fruit desserts, keep your preparations light and the party in perspective. It’s about fun, friends and enjoying the delicious flavors that are the result of your time spent cultivating, creating and sharing the exuberance of your garden.
Here are some recipes I used for my edible garden party. They were quite easy to make and took advantage of many edibles from my garden. I’ve included a few photos of the fun as well. Maybe they can be inspirational in your edible garden party endeavors! Enjoy!
Ina Garten’s Mustard Marinated Flank Steak (Shallots, garlic and tarragon from the garden. Sautéed Basque fry peppers from the garden served as a lovely topping/garnish.)
Filo Tomato Tart (Thyme, Spanish onions, tomatoes and basil (my addition) from the garden)
Kale Pesto with Toasted Walnuts (Garlic, kale, basil from the garden)
Refreshing Cucumber Salad (Cucumber, red onion from the garden. Dill could be from the garden too.)