Seasonal, farm-to-table catering is an exciting new trend in events and cuisine. Rather than serving the same staple foods every catering event, many are instead moving towards serving foods that are made with fresh, local produce. These are items that cannot be found in the area outside of season and aren't shipped in or frozen. Fresher, farm-to-table produce naturally leads to delicious, impressive food.
The Benefits of Seasonal Catering
- Support your local community. Seasonal catering uses ingredients that come directly from local farmers, suppliers, and vendors, increasing your relationships with the community and helping your local community thrive. The more support these small, local businesses and farms get, the better your community as a whole will fare.
- Give your guests one-of-a-kind dishes. Seasonal catering expertly crafts dishes around what is available in your area. This isn't always predictable; some years some crops fare well while others don't. The side effect is that your guests are treated to fresh, imaginative one-of-a-kind dishes -- meals that they will remember for a long time to come.
- Deliver healthy, nutritious foods. Seasonal catering is delivered directly from the farm to the table, never frozen, not over processed, and not packed full of preservatives. The fresh foods that are made with these seasonal ingredients aren't just going to be tastier, but they're also going to be healthier.
Creating a Seasonal Catering Menu
Your caterer can work directly with you to create a menu that is appealing to you while conforming to the ingredients that are available in your area. Seasonal catering menus are often themed based on the season, designed with a certain aesthetic in mind. These seasonal menus often showcase their best ingredients, letting guests experience them to the fullest. There are very few things that can't be done inside of a seasonal menu: every season brings with it a wide variety of exquisite seasonal produce.
Seasonal catering menus can help you narrow down to specific flavors or themes for your meals, so you don't have to develop an entire menu from scratch. Your catering chefs can focus on the proteins or highlights that you're interested in, seasoning the foods to your preference, and using the herbs and spices that you desire. All of this will be wrapped around fresh, attractive produce.
Flavors By the Season
Spring brings with it many tropical varieties of fruit: bananas, blood oranges, cherries, and grapefruit. These are perfect for the drink list, in addition to lovely and refreshing fruit salads. In terms of the more savory fare, Spring offers artichokes, asparagus, beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, peas, potatoes, snow peas, and tomatoes. These can be used to create nearly any dish.
Autumn is often a time of warm, savory, and spicy dishes. Autumn fruits include custard apples, figs, honeydew, kiwi fruit, peaches, pears, persimmons, plums, and rhubarbs. For the main course, greens include beetroot, brussels sprouts, carrots, eggplants, parsnips, pumpkins, silverbeets, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms.
Summer is when you want to keep your flavors light and refreshing. Apricots, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cherries, currants, mulberries, nectarines, and watermelons are all plentiful during this time, and can be mixed into salads and drinks. Summer vegetables include asparagus, leeks, lettuce, squash, and zucchinis, which can be used to create bright, flavorful entrees.
Winter is often a time for more hearty foods. Fruits available during the winter include apples, grapefruit, lemons, limes, oranges, pears, persimmons, and rhubarb. For vegetables, your catering will often have available cabbage, carrots, celery, fennel, horseradish, okra, leek, potato, and turnips. These can be used to create thick, hearty fare for your guests.
Tips for Creating the Best Seasonal Catering Menu
Work closely with your caterer to make sure you're developing the perfect menu. When discussing foods with your caterer, use examples of meals that you've had in the past, and the flavors that you love the most. Let them know that you're interested in a seasonal, farm-to-table menu from the outset, so they know to plan their menu accordingly. Make sure you set the date for your event early on, so you don't need to make any drastic changes to the menu. If your event falls between two seasons, you may find yourself with even more menu options.
Though a seasonal catering menu may sound complex, it's actually a simple way to ensure that you get delicious food in a responsible, sustainable way. By planning out a seasonal catering menu, you give your guests a unique, healthy meal, while also supporting your local farms and businesses. For more information on planning the catering menu for your next event, contact the expert chefs at Laissez-faire.