Farm-to-Table Wedding Cuisine
Story by Felicia Zammit-McMann
Long gone are the days when you would go to a wedding and get bland chicken or fish or an overcooked steak for dinner. In fact, wedding venues, particularly in the Hudson Valley, use their menu as one of their biggest selling points, second only to location. What makes the Hudson Valley so unique in its culinary creations is the farm-to-table and locavore movements happening here. With an abundance of local farms and produce, it is easy to see how chefs can have a field day creating a menu for your special day.
In my first article on barn and farm weddings (April/May 2016), I mentioned how many barn venues have their own garden on site and grow their own produce, making your meal not only super delicious, but sustainable as well. If a location does not have its own garden, many locations will locally source all their ingredients, from meats, to cheese, to vegetables, even wine and beverages. If you are getting married in the Hudson Valley and want to make sure your menu is organic and/or sustainable, there are a few things you need to remember:
Many venues have their own on-site catering kitchen, which may or may not be an organic kitchen. If you love the venue but want to go with a different caterer, you must make sure the venue is okay with that first. If they aren’t, make sure you ask if their chefs can accommodate your request for organic, sustainable and locally sourced ingredients.
If your venue does not provide food, and you need to find your own caterer, make sure the caterer specializes in using organic and locally sourced ingredients using all fresh, not frozen, foods. Finding a caterer who specializes in organic menus ensures everything served will be completely natural. They also have connections to local farmers and suppliers, which, if they use the same farmers and suppliers regularly, might be able to get your food at a cheaper cost.
Hudson Valley wineries are abundant, and great local wine is never far from reach. It goes without saying to always drink responsibly, so if you plan on serving alcohol at your wedding and need to hire an outside caterer, you must check with the venue and caterer on their liquor liability insurance and policies. Without liquor liability insurance, you will be responsible if a guest has too much to drink and injures himself or others.
Organic and sustainable food goes far beyond what’s served for dinner. Bakeries are now offering organic wedding cakes and desserts, too! Last, but not least, don’t forget about your favors. What better way to show off the Hudson Valley than by giving your guests locally made gifts or edible take-aways from some of our great local businesses? From wine, to maple syrup, to tea, to apples, ginger elixers and chocolate, you will never have a hard time finding something your guests will love. If edible favors are not your thing, try leaving copies of Organic Hudson Valley on their seats!
Did you have an organic wedding or give a locally sourced gift from the Hudson Valley as a favor? We’d love to know. Email Felicia@WeddingConnectionsHV.com.