When I first heard about “farm-to-table,” it was from one of those people who were part of an agricultural cooperative that delivered surplus or below-store-grade produce in bulk to their doorstep. Initially, I wasn’t sure I was crunchy enough for this concept, but after one farm-to-table meal, I realized I had stumbled upon something that appealed to my love of fresh, flavorful food and healthy eating.

If you haven’t been to a farm-to-table restaurant or dinner party yet, it probably won’t be long before you cross paths with this “of the earth” style of dining. If you want to get fresh now, check out these tips to create a farm-to-table feast of your own.

Raw Linens

I’m never busting at the seams with eagerness to whip out dinner linens; after all, I can barely keep up with the laundry as it is. But a farm-to-table meal demands something of an earthy ethos, and nothing creates this more quickly than a rustic tablecloth. Keep your table setting extra simple with a simple unsewn layer of cotton linen or chambray fabric in a beige or taupe color with bright white plates that will highlight the beautiful colors you’ll find in farm-to-table dishes.

Fresh Cuts

The table arrangement for a classic farm-to-table meal is often bench-style with two long rows that put guests face to face as they share food and conversation. That means the space between your guests should be largely unobstructed by fanciful candelabras or vases.  Opt for a continuous rope of greenery down the center of your table. Branches of rosemary, sprigs of magnolia leaves and even some flower buds are all you need to remind guests of the good gifts the earth offers up. You can create this table decoration on a shoestring by clipping whatever’s in your yard, rinsing the sprigs, and letting them air dry before setting your table. 

Colorful Combinations

My favorite dining experiences are those with tons of color on the plate, and farm-to-table meals have beauty built in to the dishes. This cooking philosophy embraces fruits and vegetables in their natural states. Veggie medleys featuring squashes and roots, lightly seasoned and dressed, allow guests to get a sense of the natural nuances of some seriously healthy and filling foods.

If it’s your first foray, don’t stress about buying everything organic this go around. Instead, experiment with combinations and recipes that highlight some of your favorite things that come from the ground. We recommend Dishing Up the Dirt, Weaver’s Orchard, and Farm to Table Baby Mama to get you started on a fresh farm-to-table adventure.

Much like wine, traditional farm to table meals are meant to bring people together for flavor exploration and appreciation of simple goodness from the ground. Stay tuned for some upcoming opportunities to experience farm-to-table meals at Saddlerock Ranch.