Farmer's Market to Table: A DIY Outdoor Dinner Party
To me, summertime is all about the simple pleasures. Garden fresh fruits and veggies, fresh lemonade, and summer nights spent outside with family and friends.
One of my favorite summer traditions is the annual visit from my Mom. For many years, we've had a week full of mother/daughter fun which has included an appetizer night with some of my girlfriends.
Let's just say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree here. My mom has always been the master of themed events and got me interested in entertaining early on in my childhood. You might remember last year's flamingo theme. When she pitched the idea of a "Farmer's Market" theme for this year, I got really excited about the menu and the decor!
To craft the menu, my Mom thought a lot about how she could pair fresh Farmer's Market goodies with some of her other famous dips and appetizer creations. Between my mom and one of my friends' moms, they put together a delicious spread.
Mediterranean Hummus Dip with Veggies
Southwest Tex Mex Melts
Fruit with Marshmallow Cream Cheese Dip
Cookie Dough Dip (alright, maybe this one wasn't fresh veggies, but you have to have dessert!)
My mom's veggie pizza is one of my favorites, so I've shared the recipe below! Sadly, I didn't get a photo of it!
DeAnne's Delicious Veggie Pizza
2 rolls Crescent Rolls
1 egg, beaten
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 c. Sour Cream
1/4 c. Mayo
1 pkg dry ranch dressing
Extra sharp cheddar cheese
Diced or chopped veggies of choice; I prefer carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and dry dill weed.
Preheat oven to 375. Unroll (don't unhook) crescent rolls; pat out to edges of 9x13 stone or baking pan, pressing seams together. Brush with beaten egg. Bake 7-8 minutes or until light brown. Let cool.
Mix together cream cheese, mayo, sour cream and ranch until well blended. Spread over cool crust. Cover with diced or chopped veggies, dill and cheese. Cut into squares. Keep cool.
We were able to take advantage of a beautiful summer night and hosted the evening outdoors. When guests walked out onto the deck, a pallet greeted them with some farmer's market signage.
The main sign was an $.88 cent placemat my Mom snagged at Walmart. I added some jute twine and hung a mixture of these fruit and vegetable free printables from Adventure in a Box and The Cottage Market. To create the same look, mount the printables onto kraft cardstock and use mini-clothespins ($.99 a pack at Walmart) to hang them across the twine.
Pallets are pretty easy to come by. You can often find individuals and businesses giving them away for free. Check Craigslist or your local neighborhood Facebook groups as a start. You can also ask a local business that you know uses pallets if you could have one on its way to the trash. Finish styling the area with some fresh plants and herbs.
A roll of kraft paper from Dollar Tree served as the "tablecloth" and made for easy cleanup. I then added on a mini pallet as the centerpiece item for the dinner table. Lucky for me, my husband found this one on its way to the dumpster at work. I draped a white and red runner across it. The runner was a Target dollar spot clearance find, but you can find something similar at World Market.
I added some wooden serving boards and some baskets of crackers in berry baskets I picked up awhile back in Target's dollar spot.
To continue with the Farmer's Market theme, I used additional printables from Adventure in a Box to make place card holders. The mini terracotta pots came in a pack of 3 for $1 from Dollar Tree earlier this summer, but you can also find small pots at local craft stores if your dollar store is out for the season.
Mount the printable on some kraft cardstock and attach it to a wood dowel with some tape. I cut down the dollar store skewer dowels with a wire cutter to get the height I wanted. Add on some dollar store jute twine and attach a tag of your choice with each guest's name. I have a big stock of shipping tags that have come in handy for so many things since using them for my DIY wedding invites! They looked so cute at each place setting!
As a centerpiece, I had some Farmer's Market flowers set out from the week before, but some lovely guests brought over fresh market sunflowers in the most adorable Farmer's Market metal vase. I added on a little sign from Target's dollar spot and that was it!
Simple can really be beautiful! We had such a great night family, friends, food, and conversation! And, we may or may not have already started dreaming up next summer's theme!