Wanna know why chefs everywhere frequent farmers markets and swear by seasonal cooking?  That’s because even the simplest dishes are more delicious when you take advantage of fresh-picked goodness!

Farm-to-table cooking has become a trend with more and more people catching on and climbing on the local and seasonal bandwagon. It’s the best way to know where your food’s coming from … and it’s a great inspiration for a fall bounty dinner party.

Set the Scene

Nature makes a perfect setting for this party, as changing leaves provide a gorgeous backdrop of color. If you can, consider hosting at a local farm or park. Even if it’s a party in your own backyard or dining room, try to time it for peak leaf-peeping season.

Choose Rustic Décor

Give your table and party space a rustic, farm-like feel. Write the evening’s menu on a simple chalkboard, use plain linen napkins tied with twine, and a rough burlap tablecloth or runner to bedeck your table. Opt for wood trays and serving bowls, as well as country-inspired items like Mason jars, milk jugs, and other pieces with barnyard motifs. Piles of pumpkins, colorful gourds, bales of hay, and dried cornstalks all serve as perfect background to complete the look.

What to Serve

Dishes filled with fall’s freshest produce are the way to go here. Think squash, apples, pears, pumpkins, and hearty greens abound—visit your local farmers market for inspiration. Simple ideas include soups, salads with mixed seasonal greens and fruits along with crumbled cheese and toasted walnuts, and dishes featuring roasted veggies. Don’t forget to check out local, pasture-raised meats, baked goods, jams, and honey as other really cool seasonal and geographically appropriate additions to your menu or a heaping charcuterie board.

To Sip

Ask your wine shop or winery, if you’re lucky enough to be close to one, to help you pair local wines with local produce and your overall menu. Love beer? Serve a sampling of regional microbrews. Nearby distilleries may have fun options for pre- or post-dinner drinks, or you can always mix up a batch of cocktails using fall herbs such as rosemary, sage, or thyme. For a non-alcoholic option, Apple cider is the perfect solution.

For a Sweet Ending

During the fall, apples are a no-brainer for dessert, whether in tarts, pie, or cider donuts. For a fun dessert idea, cross-slice cider donuts, layer them with ice cream, and drizzle with caramel syrup for a tasty twist on ice cream sandwiches. See guests off with a jar of seasonal goodness from the market, such as pickles or jam to enjoy throughout the coming winter months.

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