One of my favorite things to do these days is to explore some of the countryside within a short drive of my city. Last Summer I finally said yes to an invitation from my friend Maya to see her farm (Woolf Lavender Farm) and help harvest lavender before it was gone for the season (typically in late July). I decided to make a day of it and bring along a spread of food from one of my favorite DC restaurants, Sally's Middle Name, food stylist extraordinaire Rowena Day and my Lady Farmer friends who were just about to launch their Kickstarter campaign and needed some gorgeous photos!
Though you may think that it takes a lot of foresight and planning to style a spread like this, it actually can be done very easily! So grab a few of your besties and get out to the farm to explore and enjoy!
Here's a few tips for planning your own picnic visit out to the farm:
1. Find a farm within a few hours drive from your city. Send them an email before showing up at the farm, food in hand, ready for your picnic. Most farmers I know will be more than happy to accommodate visitors and offer a personalized tour of the farm, but just like your friends back in the city, they like to get a heads up!
2. Don't forget that the farmer is running a business as well. See if there is an opportunity to incorporate some of their purchased produce, cheese, etc. into the spread. If not, be sure to ask if you can buy something to take home with you.
3. Grab some food from your favorite restaurant. My suggestion would be to call ahead. Let them know you are planning a picnic and that you'd like to feature their food! In this case you'll probably want to ask for something that will last the drive and doesn't need to be kept refrigerated. Another great option is to do a little research and find a great restaurant closer to your destination, that way the food won't have to travel as far and you won't have to endure the mouthwatering smells during the hour-long car ride.
4. Though not necessary to have a beautiful picnic, it definitely helps to bring real platters, plates, silverware, napkins, cutting boards and glasses. It creates extra work in the end but it also takes your picnic to the next level and, a very important detail for me, it prevents the creation of unnecessary waste. If you decide to use disposables please consider the environment and use compostable products (I also happen to think that they look better!)
5. Bring flowers - you may be out in nature already but a vase of flowers makes it all that much more beautiful. Pro tip - Just bring a vase and build your own bouquet using greenery, grasses, weeds and wildflowers (just make sure you are not picking something that is obviously being grown for sale by the farmer!).
6. Don't forget to take pictures and tag everyone that played a role in helping to make the picnic happen - this includes the farmer, restaurant and any other relevant businesses like a local brewer or wine maker if you stopped to pick up some drinks along the way, which I suggest doing if you can find the time.
7. Leave it better than you found it. Don't leave anything behind. Make sure you do a thorough clean up and ask the farmer what to do with any trash. When you live out in the country the trash truck doesn't always come to you, typically there is a trash drop-off station nearby or you can just take it home with you.
I'd love to see your picnics! Tag @alittleterroir or #alittleterroir