Spending time with friends looked a little different this summer, and we’re indebted immensely to the warm weather and our favorite neighborhood spots which have allowed more picnicking than ever. We’ve perfected our go-to on-the-go salad (the one that doesn’t sog while you wait for your last friend to show up), we finally remember to bring a blanket each time and found that insulated bottle that fits just the right amount of wine.
The beginning of fall feels particularly strange this year. Many of us are still working or learning remote and cooking more, but as the days get colder, and picnics less comfortable, there are still some festive, fun ways to get your friend-food time in.
1. Dinner Club - traditional dinner parties might be off-limits right now, but there are still ways to share conversation and meals with friends, and they’re arguably more fun and creative. Grab a group of friends, pick a night, could be weekly or monthly depending on your schedules, and put it on the calendar to repeat. Each dinner is a new opportunity to try a recipe, work through a new fall cookbook, share old classic favorites or experiment with drink and wine pairings. Keep it seasonal by curating the menu around your Local Roots pick-up. It’ll ensure variety in your weekly meals, kick your kitchen fatigue, and ensure the entire bundle goes to good use.
Studies have found that eating with others is linked to living happier and more satisfied lives. When you eat at a table surrounded by friends, our bodies produce endorphins, which improve not only our mood, but also our health. There’s also evidence that eating without the distraction of television or work promotes better digestion and long-term benefits for your body and mind. When you’re distracted with each bite, you’re not truly tasting the food, and are often not paying attention to your own body’s hunger cues. So instead of multitasking, try eating together, whether that’s virtual or with your chosen pod.
Some of our fall favorites dinners to try this fall include:
Wait until you find these goodies in your basket and text the menu to your friends—don’t forget to include the zoom link. Keep your eyes peeled for new recipes this fall.
2. Baked Goods Drop Off - one of my favorite parts of fall is that it’s finally cool enough to turn on your oven. In my kitchen, that can only mean one thing: the return of baked goods. It’s time to whip out that dormant sourdough starter (or get one going) and dive into the fall classics — I can already smell the cinnamon.
While baking (and eating) an entire pie for yourself can be oddly satisfying, it’s much more fun when you can share the sweets with the people you love and show off those baking skills.
Create a route, on foot or bike, and spend an afternoon a week visiting friends on stoops and dropping off sweet treats at their door. As it gets cooler, it’s too easy to spend all day inside with a batch of cookies (we don’t blame you), but walking and other forms of low-intensity exercise can have dramatic effects on your mood and general state of being, helping to relieve stress in this uncertain world. Taking a walk and unplugging from your computer or TV are important in finding balance. Check out our blog post on naturally coping with stress for more specifics and suggestions.
If you don’t live near the people you love, make a batch and send it to people near and far. Who doesn’t love receiving a package, plus you’ll be supporting the USPS. Make sure to wrap those babies up tight in a sealed bag, and hope they’re delivered in one piece (but don’t worry, if they crumble along the way, they’ll still be delicious).
Our favorite fall baking projects include:
If you’re feeling just a little ambitious: 5 Tips for Making Your Own Sourdough Bread
3. Make an Afternoon or Evening of It - invite your neighborhood friends to join Local Roots, and you have a standing socially distanced weekly date (plus you’ll get $10 every time one of them signs up for a bundle, it’s true!)
We’ve got tons of new pick up spots this fall, and each offers the opportunity to make an event of it. You could tack on a pre-pick up walk-tail,or the post pick-up park stroll. Many of our pick-up spots happen to have wonderful products themselves, so grab a few while you’re there, and prolong the whole event.
For inspiration, here are a couple of afternoons we’d like to tag along on:
If you pick up your share at Ovenly in Park Slope, a post pick-up tea date is in order. Bring a comfortable tote to carry your loot, pick up a tea (or a hot chocolate) and a few sweet treats and stroll up to Prospect Park. You can take a walk along the outside loop or find a bench and catch up over tea-time.
Before you pick up your share at Milk Money Kitchens, meet a friend for a walk around the Lower East Side. Many of the streets are blocked off for pedestrian traffic only, making it easy to have some space while you chat.
We love Threes Brewing for a number of reasons, but it’s proximity to Transmitter Park wins it major points. Pick up your goods, then pick up a few cans and find a spot to sip.
Rielly’s Plates and Pours happens to be a hop and skip away from Bryant Park and the best steps in New York City— the New York Public Library.
Bonus! While there’s still time, take advantage of dining al-fresco with fall-picnic favorites. We recommend thermoses of something warm, be it tea or a hotty-totty, and more nourishing dishes — like grain bowls, pasture raised roasted chicken for salads, fresh baked breads and always dessert. For more special picnic additions, check out Local Roots Add-Ons.
Don’t forget, there’s still time to get your whole crew involved! Invite your foodie and neighborhood friends to join Local Roots. Pick-up spots rely on a growing number of members to collect their shares from their location — you’ll both get 25% off for each referral who purchases a bundle —so you can keep cooking and munching all fall long.
Article by Local Roots Content Volunteer Sylvie Florman
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