5 Tips to Host Your Own Garden to Table Dinner

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Don't be scared off by the words 'hosting a dinner'! Garden to table style meals are the easiest evenings you'll ever create. Whether you're a gardening pro, or can barely keep a cactus alive let's talk about the 5 ways to make your garden to table dinner an easy, breezy, summer success! All you need is a free evening and spot for your friends to sit.

1. Consult the Masters

No, you don't need to master anything, but ask your gardening friends what produce they are growing and about when it will be ripe.

Or hit up your local farmers market and ask them about the produce they will have available. Then set your dinner menu around that.

If you're stumped on what to make, ask the growers - anyone who gardens has recipes they love to use for their produce.

2. Gather Your Friends

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Hosting any type of party is always more fun with friends. Garden to Table dinners are no different. Actually they work even BETTER when you have a group of people who ALL want to create a garden fresh dish.

Just remember, you don't have to be a gardener yourself! Support your local farmers markets, or ask friends who do the growing. Spreading the prep, set up, baking and creating out between friends makes the entire evening more meaningful.

3. Don't Forget the Flowers!

Garden fresh veggies are definitely a must but so are fresh cut flowers. This is when the summer blooms get to shine.

Garden to table style dinners are amazing because the style is low key and laid back. Forget the table runners and fancy decor. Just fill your mason jars, empty tin cans, metal buckets and empty wine bottles with blooms.

This is about enjoying the freshness of the season together. Gosh I love these types of meals, all the pressure is off. Any color of flower will do, any combination, any size, height or type.

4. Embrace the Shared Meal

For good reason the word potluck has a bad wrap - tuna noodle casserole, pale looking potato salad, limp iceberg lettuce. So let's kick that word to the curb and call this a Shared Meal.

When we do shared meals I typically tell people what we're making for the main dish so that everyone can bring something that will compliment it. We also ask everyone to let us know what they're bringing so we can be sure everything is covered, appetizers, salad, sides, and desserts.

Don't forget the drinks! Lots of folks just aren't in to creating a dish for the meal but wow, ask them to tend the bar and they'll surprise you with their creativity.

It's always fun to see what people create. When all you have to do is come up with 1 thing it makes it much easier to think outside the box.

5. Clean Up Crew 

Last but definitely not least - you NEED a clean up crew. Everyone loves setting up the pretty stuff, but cleaning it all up, especially by yourself, that's a different story.

I'll admit, I have a hard time stopping the party to clean up, so make it part of the fun.

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One perk of doing a shared meal is that the kitchen mess is cut down and folks take their own serving dishes home.

But STILL, ask for help before the evening so your guests are already thinking that they'll be sticking around for a bit to move chairs, wash a few dishes and clean up the big stuff.

Now it's YOUR turn! Dust off those garden chairs, pray for sun ;) (we live in the Seattle area so that is our constant prayer!) and gather people at your table.

If you want even more help on how to host a Dinner that makes a Difference sign up for our free How to Guide and check out our book Dinner Changes Everything. We filled the pages with menus, table settings and ways to gather your people at your table for the ultimate Garden to Table dinner.

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CiderPress Lane