Love the idea of a quaint picnic in the shade on a breezy summer day, but not sure how to make that dream a reality? Here’s a handy how-to guide to give you great ideas and help you navigate the do’s and don’ts of your perfect summer picnic!
For us, picnics come with the mental picture of a slow, warm summer day full of happy moments with loved ones spent on a red and white checkered blanket eating a delicious four course meal. What you don’t see are all the thoughtful preparations it took to get to that mental image, let alone a how-to guide for achieving it. So how do you keep your picnic from devolving into a puddle of unmet expectations? Let us help! While reality might never live up to the idealistic version in your head, picnics can be a blast! All it takes is little planning. We at Tacoma Boys and H&L Produce have compiled a simple list of tips and tricks to help make your summer picnic absolutely perfect. Or at least not a total disaster.
How to Make Your Summer Picnic (Almost) Perfect
1. Lower Your Expectations
2. Keep It Simple
Speaking of reasonable expectations, it’s good to keep in mind there can be some complications when it comes to eating outdoors. Especially when you have to carry the meal TO the outdoors. Because of this, a picnic is not the time to overreach with your choice of fare. Your best bet is to keep it simple with the classics. At a loss? We have some ideas you can try:
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
When was the last time you had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? No time like the present to give that blast from the past a try! But classic doesn’t mean boring. Quality ingredients will take your meal from thrown-together to alfresco gourmet. Consider checking out Tacoma Boys and H&L Produce’s vast array of local jellies and natural peanut butters for ideas. We recommend Maury Island Farms Red Raspberry Jam and Wild Friend’s Classic Creamy Peanut Butter (or Sunflower Butter if you’re working around a peanut allergy). Bonus: Wild Friend’s is female founded and based in the PNW! You’ll love biting into this childhood favorite with grown-up ingredients.
3. Make sure it travels well.
There’s nothing quite so disappointing as opening your picnic basket to discover a mashed and mangled mess. To avoid this, be sure to include foods that can be packed easily into locking containers or that won’t be ruined if they get a little jostled. We recommend this recipe for Chicken Pesto Pasta by Damn Delicious. Just be sure to secure the tupperware lid! Or, make a dish sturdy enough to handle the ride in a Ziploc bag. For example, these Ham and Cheese Sandwiches with a gourmet twist from Delish. Again, quality ingredients are everything. For this recipe, in lieu of making your own honey mustard, try AJ’s All Natural Walla Walla Sweet Onion Mustard from our condiment section! AJ’s is local, and they source the majority of their ingredients right here in Washington state. And add Tacoma Boy’s Sweet Pickle Chips rather than plain old dill pickle slices. You can’t go wrong with either the Chicken Pesto Pasta or the Ham and Cheese Sandwiches. Both will look as great coming out of the basket as they did going in!
4. Have a little something on the side.
5. Don’t forget dessert!
Nothing will make your perfect summer picnic complete like topping it off with a little something sweet! For a less messy take on strawberry shortcake, grab a Strawberry Log from Magic Flavors (a small business in Kent, Wa) from our refrigerated section. Enjoy as is, or top with additional strawberries and/or whipped cream. For a gluten-free homemade option, try Bob’s Red Mill Brownie Mix in our GF section. Or simply grab a package of Olivia Superfree Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes–also gluten free, and vegan! As you’re savoring the last morsels of your dessert, don’t be surprised if you find yourself in a moment that feels as good as you imagined it would.
All In One Basket at Tacoma Boys