Everyone loves fall. The cool crisp, air, the leaves changing gorgeous colors, and outings to pick pumpkins and apples, make it the perfect season for a farm-to-table dinner party. The flavors of fall, anchored by spice and pumpkin, are different compared to spring or summer fruits and vegetables, with notable flavors of citrus and floral. The fall harvest is perfect to create hearty stews, apple cider, pumpkin pies, and roasted squash and sweet potato dishes. Here’s a few simple tips on how to host a memorable farm-to-table dinner.
Plan Your Menu According to the Season
Flexibility is key. Go to your local farmers market and get inspiration for your menu. Depending upon your area, you’ll like find fall staples like a variety of squashes – delicata, butternut, acorn. A wide of variety of apples will also likely be available – remember these are out year round – but they will be best from September to November. Pears, Sweet Potatoes and Mushrooms are also at their peak this season – so look for these on your trip to the market.
Keep it Simple
Celebrate heirloom tomatoes with a sampler platter. Place a different fresh herb on each variety. Top simply with some cracked sea salt or fresh mozzarella cheese and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. If heirloom tomatoes aren’t available in your area, choose another vegetable like an eggplant and simply roast it in the oven with some olive oil, salt and pepper.
Use Local Sourcing for Ingredients
Try to find local sources for such items as organic micro greens, greens, herbs, eggs and grains, if possible. This will ensure you are getting the best quality product and supporting the local agricultural community too. You might consider starting an herb garden – you can source your own fresh herbs for the dinner like – mint, thyme, oregano, and basil.
Consider Fresh Herbs and Seasonal Vegetables as Decorations
There are many beautiful fresh herb leaves that can be used to beautifully decorate your table in a fresh and natural way. Bay leaves and other herbs when bunched together and tied with a string make a great base for a place card or look pretty underneath a roasted veggie or main plated dish. Pumpkins and squash are abundant this season and make for beautiful table scapes. Try using a pumpkin as your vase for fresh flavors for extra flair.
Pair Wines with Menu According to Color & Flavors
When thinking about which wines to pair with the farm-to-table menu, keep in mind that often pairing a wine is as simple as matching the color of your dish to the color of your wine. For example, delicata or yellow squash will pair well with Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay – the citrus and fruit flavors in these wines will balance with the vegetables nicely. Try Kendall-Jackson AVANT Sauvignon Blanc or Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay. For darker vegetables like pumpkin or mushrooms, choose Pinot Noir that will pair with more earthy flavors like Kendall-Jackson’s Grand Reserve Pinot Noir or AVANT Red Blend. Consider the flavors in addition to the colors of your dish and match those to the flavor descriptors in the wine.