First, it’s all about keeping food as organic, local, and seasonal as possible. Local and seasonal produce and herbs will bring out the freshest taste on any plate. Not only that, by keeping it local, the carbon footprint of the meal is decreased and the local economy is supported, not to mention the hardworking farmers who put in tons of hours to bring us the tasty and colorful bounty.
Though it may be hard to find an all-organic catering company, any caterer should be able to work with you on substituting general ingredients with organic ones, possibly even working with local farmers. Discuss with your caterer your vision and ask questions them if they offer organic and fair-trade foods and beverages, free-range chicken and naturally-raised beef. If you’re serving fish, make sure the fish is sustainable and not commercially raised. Also, you may want to consider offering a full vegan menu, which, “ensures that your vegetarian, kosher, and even your lactose-intolerant friends will enjoy a full spectrum of delicious offerings,” says Gaea Denker-Lehrman of weddings,gatheringguide.com.
Visit your local farmer’s market to see what’s in season, talk to the farmers, and get an idea of what to incorporate into your menu items. Here’s a sampling by season:
Fall: brussel sprouts, butternut squash, pumpkin, mushrooms, pears, ginger, apples
Winter: potatoes, onions, carrots, cabbage, kale, beets
Spring: asparagus, artichokes, broccoli, spinach, snap peas
Summer: citrus fruits, berries, melons, avocados, cucumbers, bell peppers, chard
Menu items to consider:
Roasted red pepper and squash ravioli
Tofu soup with sliced mushrooms (hearty soups and stews are great for a winter menu)
Salads made with mixed greens and topped with colorful fruits and vegetables
Roasted root vegetables mixed with rosemary and thyme
Linguine with tomatoes, olives, and fresh herbs
And don’t forget about beverages. Serving local beer and wine adds local flavor. You can also offer sparkling mineral water, organic alcohol and fruit juices. Serve smoothies in shot glasses for a non-alcoholic treat and pack them with superfruits and fresh herbs for a kick.