The “farm to table” movement is a return to pre-1950s eating options that rely on what’s local, what’s seasonal, what’s grown organically, and what’s homegrown as well as home-cooked. While the 24/7 demands of today’s work styles depend on frozen, canned and carryout foods, and while we’re not giving up shrimp cocktail in Idaho or oranges in December, it’s nice – and nostalgic– to get back to the flavorful basics when we can. There’s no question an in-season, local tomato or free-range chicken tastes the best!
In the spirit of the farm-to-table movement, tabletop, floral and home style trends are capturing the beauty and color of nature’s bounty with arrangements combining flowers, vegetables and fruits.
Broccoli and gooseberries look surprisingly flower-like, so just a few purple blooms and accent spikes of fresh rosemary sprigs complete the look in the HGTV arrangement above.
Pink and green is spring’s favorite combo, and these tulips and lilacs are happy to mix it up with artichokes, lettuce and asparagus for a farm-fresh look.
Farmhouse warmth that’s chic, not corny, comes home to roost in the just-introduced Willow Bend dining collection by Hooker Furniture in the opening photo. A generously-scaled farm table invites hearty meals and lingering comforts; it’s also available in smaller round tables for any size home. A mix of leather, ladderback chairs and an old-fashioned bench give the look of family heirlooms, lovingly collected.
The perfect accents to such dining furniture are bountiful, organic tabletop arrangements and china pieces combining vegetables, fruits and florals. Mixing of vibrant-colored bounty of the earth is not a new idea; Renaissance painters celebrated Nature’s bounty, and our own American culture has given pineapples (hospitality) and wheat sheaves (plenty) iconic status.
I picked raspberries, blackberries and peaches on my great-aunt’s farm in Michigan, and this Evesham Gold plate by Royal Worcester reminds me of that experience every time I use it.
I have just this one plate my mom got from a friend, and it’s a lovely way to present fresh fruits and berries.
Green peppers, green beans, white scallions, yellow flowering wild mustard plants and a few purple blooms make a still life worthy of a Renaissance painting in the photo above. Adding veggies to a loose arrangement like this makes it more casual, and spectacular at the same time. What makes it work is the complementary color scheme of yellow –green and violet.
My mother, an early version of Martha, made centerpieces with fresh-scrubbed produce: eggplants, red onions, beets and plums with purple asters, for example. Farm-to-table has inspired a new generation to use vegetables and fruits combined with flowers in tabletop arrangements. Combined with similarly themed china, kitchen and dining textiles, and accents, plus updated country-style furniture, the look is fun, fresh and appreciative of what nurtures us, body and soul.
My German grandmother cherished her set of Meissen Blue Onion porcelain, designed in the 1700s. Then, as in her day, onions, beets and other vegetables pictured here were everyday beauties worth honoring.
Poppies and ripe tomatoes? Daisies and garlic? It all works beautifully thanks to a red-and-white scheme that’s as cheerful as a gingham picnic cloth.
The farm-to-table style is not limited to the dining room, as Hooker Furniture shows by including this writing desk, bookcase and file credenza as part of its farm-inspired Willow Bend collection. Crafted in a beautiful Old World-like swirl oak and oak burl combination and utilizing a random plank pattern on vertical and horizontal planes, Willow Bend has a sophisticated vintage rustic look befitting the farm-fresh movement.