We recently celebrated my husband’s birthday at home with some close friends and a harvest table. Our guests grazed on this beautiful spread as the sun went down….perfect for gatherings. It’s a seasonal offering of ripened fruits and vegetables combined with cheeses, nuts, olives, charcuteries, dips, ferments, pickles, crackers, bread, foliage, and anything else your heart desires - directly on the table!
You don’t need to cook anything especially if you serve enough hearty options. It can be customized easily for folks with varying eating preferences too. It’s very inclusive.
Run a sheet or two of parchment paper down the center of your dining table, sideboard, or kitchen island. Scale this to any size you need. Place a centerpiece in the middle and slowly build the harvest out. I find that mirroring each side as you go is helpful in the beginning so there’s a foundation that’s relatively symmetrical.
It will naturally begin to take shape. Tuck jars and small bowls of dips and pickled vegetables in random spots. Remember candles for evening time and fill in any gaps with foliage and large pieces of fruit that are either whole like apples and pears or cut in half like oranges and pomegranates. Play with it.
Keep things close and piled high to create the feeling of abundance and overflow.
There isn’t much more of a formula than that. This is meant to be rustic so don’t stress out. It’s very inviting and your guests can enjoy it for hours.
Make sure to give yourself enough time to set up before the gathering begins and try to enlist a friend or family member to help.
Wash, dry, and trim fruits and vegetables in advance if possible.
Fold meats neatly and overlap them in a row - It nicer for guests to pick up this way
Pile nuts in various places or put in bowls if you know of allergies
Choose an assortment of different kinds of crackers in color and texture
Throw some breadsticks in a small mason jar
Use any special ceramics or serving utensils you have
Don’t forget those who are gluten free or vegan - it’s thoughtful to have good cracker options and nut cheeses
Stack small plates and cocktail napkins on either end to disperse the crowd
Shopping List ideas:
Hard and soft cheese
Seasonal fresh fruit
Sliced or torn baguette pieces
Various crackers and breadsticks
Gluten free crackers
Carrot ginger dressing
Flowers and foliage