Autumn Picnic in the Park | Whole Green Love

4 Oct

Dana Hogan, Skyfish Photography

Fall is my favorite time of year! I love the weather, the colors of the changing leaves, and the FOOD! So, Joanna and I set out on a mission to plan a fall picnic to share with friends. When we started our planning for a fun, fall picnic in the park, we had two goals in mind. First and foremost, we wanted to plan an excuse to get friends together to enjoy the fall weather! Second, we wanted to use that time together to savor the perfect flavors of fall through local, seasonal, and fresh foods. I think we accomplished just that.

Dana Hogan, Skyfish Photography

I want to focus on the word “local” for a minute. What does “eating local” even mean? And how local is local? In 2005, Jessica Prentice coined the term “locavore” to describe people who strive to eat food that is grown within a 100 mile radius of their home. It’s a movement that promotes frequenting your farmers’ market, getting to know those who produce your food, and growing your own food – even if that just means growing a pot of basil on your windowsill. It’s a way to cut down on the waste and cost that comes with packaged food and reduce the fossil fuel and energy used to transport food across the country or halfway around the world to your table. Check out a few stats from Sustainable Table:

  • A typical carrot has to travel 1,838 miles to reach your dinner table.
  • In the U.S., a wheat farmer can expect to receive about six cents of each dollar spent on a loaf of bread—approximately the cost of the wrapping.
  • Farmers’ markets enable farmers to keep 80 to 90 cents of each dollar spent by the consumer.

Dana Hogan, Skyfish Photography

We were mindful of choosing recipes for this picnic that would allow us to purchase locally. You won’t find any strawberries or raspberries in these recipes, because our recipes were picked with the fall season in mind. We will talk more about eating locally in the future on this blog, because it’s a serious passion of ours, but for now let’s get on with the picnic!

When creating a picnic menu, it is critical to develop a menu that allows you to get the full experience of a meal, without the stress of transporting food or creating complicated recipes the day of. We chose recipes that were considered “easy” for level of difficulty and we stuck to plenty of easy-to-eat finger foods to minimize the use of juggling a plate and using multiple utensils. Some may say this meal is more “snacky” than meal-like, but that is my favorite way to eat. Grazing is the best.

Our menu consisted of:

Dana Hogan, Skyfish Photography

Patterson Orchards apple cider, served nice and hot.

Local beers (Louie’s Demise and New Grist), for those who wanted an adult beverage.

Jalapeno and pepper jelly (purchased from The Fideler Farm, at the farmers’ marker) spread over cream cheese, served with crackers.

Crostata with mushrooms and pancetta. Check out the Food Network’s website for this recipe.

Prosciutto with pears and arugula. This is another recipe from the Food Network.

Curried sweet potato and apple soup. Another Food Network delicacy.

Butternut squash and vanilla risotto. Giada De Laurentiis knew what she was doing when she created this one.

Elegant Farmer banana bread

Milwaukee Cupcake Company’s pumpkin spice latte and caramel apple cupcakes

Dana Hogan, Skyfish Photography

Consider getting your group of friends or family together this year to enjoy the beautiful fall season. It’s a great time to be outside – who doesn’t love jeans and comfy sweatshirt weather? The day was even better since we brought some games along with us to play in the park. The guys broke off and played bocce ball and the girls played a game of bean bags.

Since we made so many tasty treats, we will take this entire week to share and get in depth with the recipes and delicious tastes with you!

What is your favorite fall recipe or food? If you buy it from a local farm or producer, who do you buy it from? Please share your fall food finds with us!

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