Today we’re sharing our best ideas for a fall picnic or tailgate party with the fabulous ladies of the Back to Basics Series. If you’ve missed any of our previous posts you can learn How to Style a Coffee Table here, Tips for Organizing here and Easy Tablescape Ideas here.
If you’ve been raised in the South you probably already know this time of year is a busy one for pecan farmers, shellers and pecan pickers. I’ve been picking pecans from our family’s grove my entire life. In a million years, I could have NEVER imagined the pecan trees would one day be mine though. Pecan season in our area usually runs from late September through November and is without a doubt something our family has looked forward to for generations.
My mom and I spent some time recently checking the health of the trees, walking the property and harvesting the pecans that were already on the ground. Don’t even think I’m romanticizing the word “harvesting” though. It’s mostly hot, sweaty, backing aching – and totally worth it – hard work, you guys.
I’m usually the only one out in the field with hot pink bow laced waders and necklaces on ha ha. My uncles tease me about it all the time but I’m not taking any chances with snakes or spiders or anything else that crawls either.
While I might be lovingly considered high-maintenance according to their standards, we all have a good time out there laughing and cutting up. It’s one of my favorite things about Fall. They’ve been incredibly helpful trying to teach me about the trees, the nuts and how to care for the property in general. Before, I would be laser focused on getting pecans in the bucket. After all, the more pecans, the more pie! Am I right?
It feels like an exciting responsibility now, though, one which I don’t take lightly at all.
As we headed out to the grove, I asked my mom if she wanted to kick off pecan season with a fall picnic and she graciously said yes. Here are a few essentials to consider packing when you decide to have a fall picnic too…
A vintage picnic basket – all great picnics no matter the season start with a good picnic basket. We’ve used this vintage one for a while because it’s study, has plenty of room for food items and it’s easy to carry.
Plaid blankets – plaid blankets are a classic staple for any picnic. We picked this one up at our favorite charity shop but you could also buy a few yards of plaid fabric at craft supply or fabric stores. Keep in mind you’ll need enough blankets or fabric to spread out your picnic food and also to sit as wel.
Serving boards – probably most picnic foods could be considered finger foods but it’s still nice to be intentional about your presentation. Considering bringing cake stands, cutting boards, slate boards or cake pans to help make the food displays easily accessible.
Plates – even though it’s a picnic you’ll still need a plate to eat from so consider something lightweight like melamine. These are part of my mom’s collection which are a bit heavier than melamine but worth the haul. Don’t you just love those peacocks?
Mason jars – using mason jars in leu of assorted bottled waters, juice drinks or sodas will help minimize the amount of drink containers you’ll have to carry to and from your favorite fall picnic spot.
Bundle utensils and napkins at home – if you’re bringing something that needs to be eaten with a fork or spoon, consider saving time by bundling utensils and napkins at home. We couldn’t resist bringing these with my Granny’s monogram. She was the steward of the pecan grove before I became the steward.
Prep food in advance – think sandwiches wrapped in parchment paper secured with twine, snack bags, mini containers of veggies or salads.
You can pick up seasonal fruits like pears, apples, and figs at most any farmers market or grocery store.
If you’re bringing a warm fall soup, make it in advance at home then transport it to your favorite picnic site in an insulated thermos.
Save some time by picking up an assortment of desserts at your favorite bakery.
Honestly, this is the kind of thing you can be as easy or as fancy as you like.
Make clean up easy – if you’re eating from real plates and drinking from jars or thermos cups make sure you bring a plastic bin or crate to hold dirty dishes. You’ll also want to bring dish towels, wet napkins, and extra garbage bags to make clean up simple as well.
I hope these tips have helped make packing for a picnic seem a little easier!
If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past few months it’s…start making memories, however and whenever you can…don’t wait. There will always be work to finish and items on your to-do list that need to be crossed off.
But the chance to make fall memories only happens once a year so make the time for adventure.
Be sure to check out how some of my favorite ladies are celebrating all that fall has to offer …