3/8/11

How To Season Your Free Range Appetite


The urge to eat outside grows as the hours of daylight increase.  Mother Nature surges with leafy vegetables and colorful berries to whet your Free Range Appetite for fresh, wholesome food.  It’s time to gather local goods into a basket and seek the perfect spot for a picnic beneath a canopy of trees, on a hillside, or on a river bank because everything tastes better when seasoned with fresh air.  



If you also love "eating out" in your backyard, there's a variety of patio furniture that will accommodate festive family meals or an intimate bistro setting for two.  But, suppose you want a more down-to-earth eating experience that satisfies your appreciation for the natural flavor and texture of recently harvested vegetables.  If you can imagine a hybrid of your garden and your patio table, then you would have enjoyed sitting at the Future Feast table designed by Suzanne Biaggi of Sculptural Landscapes in California.  

Ms. Biaggi's installation garden, “Future Feast In The Garden Of Flow/Accumulation,”  was an exhibit in the 2009 “Late Show at Cornerstone Gardens” in Sonoma, Ca.1  She cleverly elevated the picnic to table height while also raising awareness about (landscape) sustainability.  By creating a 26’ long table planter featuring an edible centerpiece of herbs, lettuces, and other plants, she reinterpreted raised bed gardening.  The dramatic length of the Future Feast table was supported with reclaimed redwood logs to demonstrate a fundamental concept of sustainability:  reuse.  

Future Feast table
Suzanne Biaggi


Ms. Biaggi collaborated with Patrick Picard from Equinox Landscape in Petaluma to include design elements that address global warming concerns.2  Inspired by permaculture practices related to “green roof technology,” they placed a garden plot in the middle of the table along with a canal that symbolizes her belief that “FLOW is the way of nature; all systems work in cycles and movement.” 3 Two stone pillars accentuated the head of the table and emphasized the strong symmetry of the overall garden space.
Harmony and Goodwill
It must have been a delightful experience to dine at the Future Feast table.  When Mother Nature is the guest of honor, there's an unspoken grace that presides over the table.  Like the perfect dinner party conversation, the water flowed effortlessly bringing harmony and goodwill to guests.  Sunlight cast warmth and light over the celebration while also powering the pump that circulated water across the table until it cascaded over the edge, disappearing into a circular bed of gray stones.  


Setting an indoor table with a vase of flowers is a beautiful expression of gratitude for food, family, and friends.  A bountiful table heightens one's appreciation for the origin of nutritious food.  Who needs to serve salad from a large bowl when everyone can assemble a side of greens from the centerpiece.  Who wouldn’t enjoy leaning forward to snip a bit of parsley to punctuate a plate of pasta, or add a peppery punch to a sandwich with freshly picked arugula leaves.  You may decide you don’t miss salt and pepper.  You may not want to drizzle an Italian vinaigrette over the centerfeast.  






Sources:

Photos of the Future Feast table published with permission from Ms. Suzanne Biaggi.

1 2011 Erin Feher, “2011 CH+D Award For Landscape Design,” California Home + Design, Jan/Feb 2011, p. 108.
2 Feher, p. 108.