What’s Up for Labor Day?

Labor Day is the traditional closing day to summer. Sadly, women are advised to put away the white pants until next year, while men prepare to supplant themselves on the couch for the football season. But the last gasp of summer lives on in Labor Day activities focused around the outdoors. We’ve got a few ideas on how to celebrate with a local and sustainable twist, but when asked what exactly is Labor Day celebrating, many of us, including me, usually stumble.

In 1882 the fist Labor Day took place in New York City and was organized by the unions to celebrate the social and economic achievements of U.S. workers. The annual event included a parade and political speeches followed by a festival for the workers and their families. In typical American fashion, the political traditions have waned, but the party lives on.

Picnics, BBQs and any other way we can eat and drink outdoors is what most of us will be doing this Labor Day. When you’re looking for protein to cook for the party, sustainable seafood is a great choice that’s healthy for you and the planet. Check out the downloadable pocket guide to sustainable choices in your region from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Visiting a “pick your own” farm will help fill up the table with the freshest fruits and veg and support local farmers. On our family vacation this month my brother’s and my kids had a great time picking blueberries and peaches in New Hampshire. My niece transformed them into a spectacular cobbler that we enjoyed even more because we all participated – from farm to table.

If you don’t live near a farm, farmer’s markets and the last of the county fairs are great places to have some fun this weekend. Urban and suburban kids might even learn about our history as an agrarian culture in between funnel cakes and rides as you walk the 4-H stalls.

Many people will be heading for our parks, lakes and oceans. OK, I’m the first to admit there is little in life as satisfying as coming of the beach and handing over a wet wad of dollar bills for a greasy cheeseburger and Coke at the snack shack. But if you’re going to BYO, then you can keep help keep tons of trash out of the landfill this weekend with a little pre-work at home.

Instead of stopping at the grocery deli on the way out, prepare fruit salads and sandwiches in reusable containers packed with blue ice. That way you can recycle the ingredient packing at home, cut your costs, eliminate the holiday lines and cut the amount of preservatives and salt in things like potato salad.

What will be doing at Kendall-Jackson this Labor Day weekend? Most of us will be working harvest – Mother Nature doesn’t wait and first and foremost we’re farmers. So while you enjoy a bottle or two of our Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio or our new K-J Avant Chardonnay — think of us. We’re busy making the wines for next summer already!