Whew!…2010 already? 2009 felt like a very good year for us and I hope it was for you, too. Best wishes to all of my newlywed couples! Some traveled from afar for their big day and others married closer to home, but in either case Vermont will always be a special place for you. I hope you have a wonderful upcoming year. Congrats also to all the happy couples who are bound to get a little happier tonight when someone pops the question! Look for planning tips next week to help get you started. Happy New Year, 2010! If you need me I’ll be on the ski slopes…
Archive for December, 2009
As 2009 comes to a close and I think of the things I am thankful for I have to include our CSA share. We eat a lot of fresh veggies from our garden in the summer months, but once winter comes around I feel less inspired by the selection of produce at the market and the price tag on the organics so we tend to go heavy on carbs for half the year. This winter Dave and I decided to joined a CSA. The Butternut Mountain Farm store in Morrisville is a pick-up location and since Dave works for the company that makes it pretty convenient.
So each week for the past few months Pete’s Greens has delivered a variety of squash, herbs, onions, garlic, leeks, celeriac, parsnips, beets, brussel sprouts, carrots, potatoes (I think you get the idea…), locally milled flour, oats, jams, cheeses, popcorn, tofu, fresh eggs, delicious breads from Elmore Mountain Bread, farm-made applesauce, pickles, coleslaw and sunflower oil, oh yeah, and did I mention greens?! We’ve had cabbage, kale, watercress, mustard & salad greens to name a few and all sorts of things I’ve never seen before. They even had pumpkin puree for us the week of Thanksgiving for pies. We receive an e-mail newsletter the night before each pick-up so we’ll know what we’re getting, but it still feels like a surprise when I see our bounty!
People always ask me what I do in my “off season” and I guess my answer to them this year would be something like, “figuring out what celeriac is and what I should do with it!” So far it has been both fun and challenging to try and use up all my produce in tasty and interesting ways. Garlicky kale with cornmeal pancakes, roasted beets, squash, eggplant & parsnips, pizzas with sauteed chard, and lots and lots of soups (I would also put my immersion blender on the list of things I am thankful for. I am not sure what I’d do without it!). It has been a real treat to see what comes home in our bags each week and I will be sad when it ends in mid-February. For now I will enjoy our local offerings for as long as they last and dream of rutabaga and radishes.
4 clean 5-gallon buckets
Glass bottles in a size & shape you like for each guest (I think 8-12 oz. sizes are nice).
Lots and lots of chive blossoms (you will probably want to fill each bucket at least 1/2-3/4 of the way with blossoms or herbs). You might consider growing the herbs yourself or picking them yourself at a local farm (or at least a local farmstand!).
White vinegar. The amount you’ll need depends upon the size of the bottles you select and the number of guests you have. There are 128 oz. in a gallon so if you multiply the total number of bottles you’ll need by the number of ounces each one holds and divide it by 128 you’ll have your answer. For example if you have 100 guests and you select 10 oz. bottles you will need about 8 gallons of vinegar to fill the bottles.
Plastic wrap to put over the top of the 5-gallon buckets.
Large rubber bands or string to secure the plastic wrap to the bucket.
- Customized tags with your names, wedding date, description of sunlight infused vinegar, uses, etc.
- Raffia or ribbon to tie tags to bottles.
- A hole punch and…
- Sunshine! 1-2 days/afternoons worth should do it.
- Fill 2 clean 5-gallon buckets 1/2-3/4 of the way with chive blossom or herb of your choice.
- Pour vinegar over the top of the blossoms until each bucket has approximately the same amount.
- Cover with plastic wrap (you can do more than 1 layer) and secure with rubber bands or string.
- Place in full sun for 1-2 days to allow the vinegar to heat up. Try not to leave it out in the rain! Use a spoon to check the progress of the vinegar (ie. it’s color and flavor).
- When vinegar reaches the desired color/flavor you can remove the plastic wrap and strain the chive blossoms out of the vinegar by pouring it through a cheese cloth into another clean 5-gallon bucket. (You can attach the cheese cloth to the bucket you are pouring from or the one you are pouring into depending on your set-up.)
- You can immediately bottle your vinegar now or store it for several months until you are ready. You should first sterilize your glass bottles with boiling water and then use a funnel to ladle the vinegar into each bottle being careful to fill to the same line on each bottle. Cap the bottles, add your tag and voila! You have a sunlight infused vinegar for your guests that you made yourself! Easy.
If you want an easy DIY project that delivers a personalized feeling this is definitely one to try. If you do try it, I’d love to hear how it turns out!
10 beautiful wedding blooms in the purple palette are:
Hydrangea, larkspur, delphinium, lisianthus, lilac, hyacinth, fresh lavender, anemone, veronica & campanula. Consider mixing purple with green & white tones that are as bright or subdued as you like or make a bold statement with orange, yellow & red accents for a combination that represent mid-summer’s splendor. Tip: If your attendants are wearing a shade of purple have them carry bouquets in a contrasting color like yellow or white with greens. You can include a few purple accent tones if you prefer a more matched look.
10 of my favorite flowers for a red color palette are:
Asiatic lilies, roses, anemones, bee balm, zinnias, gerbera daisies, safari sunset, gladiolus, tulips, & amaryllis. Mix these with shades of oranges, greens and yellows for an autumnal palette or take it in another direction with purple & pink tones.
When it comes to weddings I think working with the season is always a good idea. It is often suggested that you select flowers that are “in season.” Because of a wide variety of growers around the world out-of-season really only applies to a small percentage of popular wedding blooms and if you are open to different flower types (ie you don’t have anything too specific in mind) beautiful arrangements in just about any palette can be achieved. If you are looking to use local flowers you should keep in mind that our growing season in Vermont is fairly short (from May-September for most crops) so local, in-season flowers will be most readily available for mid-June, July and August weddings. There are some seasonal blooms that are nearly impossible to source locally other than a few weeks per year (such as lilacs, lily-of-the-valley & peonies), but a majority of the flowers you’ll find on wedding websites and in magazines are available from your florist no matter what time of year you marry, whether or not they are “in season”.
Here are a few guidelines on flowers by season
Mid-May: In season blooms include lilacs and a few bulbs like hyacinths, tulips or daffodils.
Late-May to Early June: Lily-of-the-valley, iris, poppy, hosta leaves and flowering branches.
June (mid-late): Peonies are blooming and can be cut and held for a few weeks if need be. If it’s been a warm spring you’ll find more local flowers coming into bloom. If it’s been a wet or cool spring you’ll be likely to find more offerings in July.
July: Most annuals that have been started in greenhouses and planted in the field will be coming into flower by now including flowers such as snapdragons, zinnia, phlox, lilies, delphinium, dahlias and fresh herbs.
August: Some of the July bloomers will continue through much of August with the addition of sunflowers, gladiolus, echinacea, bee balm, thistle, day-lilies and annuals that were started in the field or planted later in the season.
September: While we may hold out hope each year that summer will continue for a few more weeks the truth is that we can expect a killing frost anytime after Labor Day weekend in Vermont. Other than blooms that can be grown in a greenhouse it can be difficult to predict which September flowers will be available.
October-April: Flowers won’t be “in season,” however your options are many. Roses, tulips, callas, snapdragons, lilies, gerbera daisies, berries, seasonal greenery and tropical blooms, like orchids for example, are all available year round and can work with any color palette.
Lunaroma has been the creator of some of my favorite things for many years now! Described as “aromatic apothecary” they not only have the best smelling products, but they work really well and a little goes a long way. I often give their products as gifts and tend to keep their Rose-Geranium perfume balm, Bergamot-Lime body butter and a bottle of Rose Water on hand at all times. They mixed a special fragrance for my wedding and I still love to wear it. The store on St. Paul Street in Burlington is a delight for the senses, but their online selection is pretty enticing, too. A special indulgence for your body, mind and soul that is so worth it. I couldn’t make it through the summer months without their Bugs Be Gone and Bite & Sting Relief and body butters rescue my hands from the winter air! I also have to admit that I just love their blue bottles.
Happy Winter Solstice! Maybe you should treat yourself like a goddess and get a synergy. A new scent for the new year! A few of my favorites are Joy, Serenity and Sparkle, although Amor, Delight and Fresh sound pretty sweet, too. I may have just found something to add to my Christmas list…
On Molly & Ryan’s wedding day in June there was nothing but rain in the forecast, however the clouds happily parted in time for a beautiful outdoor ceremony at Boyden Valley Winery in Cambridge. I really love the relaxed, yet coordinated style of this couple. Dish & Fluid Bar Service catered the food & drink. Photographs were provided by Shem Roose.
Congratulations to Molly & Ryan on a beautiful wedding and best wishes for continued happiness always!
As the groom it can sometimes be hard to figure out how to fit in to the whole planning gig. Some grooms are more interested than others of course, so I don’t want to generalize, but it is commonly assumed that the bride will be taking the lead in planning. I think finding ways to express your personality & style as a couple is essential to modern-day wedding planning. As an expression of two people joining their lives together the masculine touch is as important as the bride’s vision.
Here are a few suggestions for grooms:
Arrange for an extra little vase of flowers or other small gift to be delivered to the bride’s suite before the ceremony with a note expressing your excitement about the day ahead. After all of her dedication to planning the details it will be so nice to have something surprise her before the wedding!
Be willing to step outside of your comfort zone if it is appropriate for your wedding day. It is one thing to opt for khakis & cons for a mid-summer ceremony in the park with a casual reception, however if you have booked a formal venue with perhaps a religious ceremony and a plated four-course meal it isn’t unreasonable to don a tux!
Consider this an opportunity to invest in a tailored suit that will fit you perfectly and last for years. It may cost as much as her wedding gown (or it may cost half as much!), but you can wear it multiple times and let’s face it, you could probably use a great suit!
Do have a say-so in your own attire as well as your groomsmen. Your bride may have an ideal wedding look for you or she might like your input to determine the formality of the attire. Don’t agree to a tuxedo or a pink polka-dot tie that you hate if you feel it seems totally out of place for your style or the vibe you have in mind.
Express an interest in the wedding planning and do your best to make the day about your taste and style as well as your partner’s. It is great to get involved in menu selection, music and photography, but you may find that you are interested in linens, invitations and ceremony decor as well.
Find ways to help get things crossed off the “to do” list in the weeks and months before the wedding. Tackle as many projects as you can and encourage times for you both to take a break from wedding talk.
Grooms, this time between your engagement and the big day is full of much to do and plan. Good luck to you in your planning process! Cheers, to what will be one of the most special days of your lives!