Food typically plays a key role in these get-togethers, with Andrew Zimmern calling food the “ultimate expression of the human experience” at Roots 2018. “I don’t think,” he added, “anything is as powerful as sharing a meal and breaking bread.”
We wholeheartedly agree and, in this post, we’ll share insights into why it makes sense to include vegetables in holiday menus, as well as how you can gift friends, family members and business contacts with boxes of farm-fresh produce from The Chef’s Garden.
Creating a Holiday Menu
Families often have food-related traditions that they enjoy together during the holiday season. As Today.com points out, there are holiday food customs that come from a family’s ethnic background, as well as regional specialties.
“For Ohioans,” the article reads, “a holiday party would be incomplete without a platter of buckeye candies beneath the tinsel and lights, while in New Mexico, the spiced sugary cookies bizcochitos are a staple at most Christmas celebrations. Often, a holiday food tradition develops from the region's immigrant heritage, like the German holiday food festival in Chicago or the Cuban pig roast on Christmas Eve prepared by many Floridians, Cuban and non-Cuban alike. Just as often, these food customs bleed across regional borders and influence cultural communities across the country.”
And, because increasing numbers of people are focusing more heavily on plant-based eating, including more vegetables in the holiday menu helps to make celebrations more inclusive. In fact, FoodNavigator-USA.com named plant-based eating as a “megatrend” in North America and other places around the world—with nearly 70 percent of Americans trying to increase their consumption of plant protein.
And, although we don’t want to overload a post about holiday entertaining with statistics, the article shows how 52 percent of consumers are including more plant-based foods in their diets, with more than half of them saying this is a permanent change. Reasons why this is happening, according to the article, are as follows:
ethical treatment of animals
family/peer group influence
Including more vegetables when you’re entertaining can be as simple as providing them raw with delicious dips. Or, you can make the dip from vegetables that you could pair, for example, with bread sticks. Here’s one vegetable-based dip described by Chef Jamie Simpson at the Culinary Vegetable Institute.
“You can make a broccoli dip that’s so creamy you might think there’s dairy in it, but there isn’t. You first shave green buds from the crown. Sweat the rest with onion and blend it in stock until it’s super smooth. Strain it and you’ve got a velvety puree. Fold in the crown tips and barely cook the mixture. You’ve now got a range of textures in a beautiful green dip that’s lightly studded. It’s deliciously simple, and very dippable.”
Plus, there are plenty of ways to create vegetable snacks. At a high level, Jamie shared the following ideas:
Borrow the technique used to make shrimp chips to create elegant, snackable chips made from peas, carrots, tomatoes, and/or beets.
Offer vegetable snacks with a jerky-like texture. This can be done with beets and carrots, as just two examples.
You can also puff the vegetables, and here is his puffed kale recipe.
The higher the quality of your ingredients, the more flavorful and nutritious your healthy indulgences will be. Plus, freshness is key.
When you order your vegetables from The Chef’s Garden, we hand-harvest, picking to order and shipping overnight to ensure that you receive the freshest, most vibrant and flavorful produce available. This is our efficiently shipped Earth to Table® promise that ensures ultimate freshness and incredible flavor for your holiday entertaining.
Ready to see how efficient and dedicated we are?
If so, here’s a fun holiday video starring Farmer Lee Jones that, while a bit tongue-in-cheek, does demonstrate our commitment to our shipping processes.
A Look at Holiday Celebrations
“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” (Hamilton Wright Mabie)
Fresh vegetables make ideal healthy indulgences at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s—but not just on those holidays.
At The Chef’s Garden, we celebrate diversity, including in seasonal holidays. “Not all of our team members celebrate Christmas,” Farmer Lee points out, adding that—whether they do or don’t celebrate that holiday—not all of them can make it home during this season.
So, he invites all of them to his home, where people can share their traditions with one another. “Every year,” Farmer Lee adds, “we take a picture in front of the Jones family tree, with members of the international farm team at the celebration standing around that tree. I never fail to feel humbled, grateful and amazed when we take those pictures. It’s one way to share our holidays with our extended farm family—and each year I realize how, because of these amazing people, the world is a better place.”
At this holiday gathering, everyone enjoys the fruits of the harvest from The Chef’s Garden.
And, as a final thought about holiday gatherings, while we may not come up with wishes expressed this eloquently, this is certainly what’s in our hearts at each of these gatherings: “May your walls know joy, may every room hold laughter, and every window open to great possibility.” (Mary Anne Radmacher)
Holiday Gift Giving
Besides including vegetables in your holiday party menus, you can also use them as gifts for friends, family members and business associates as a way to show how much you care about them. Gift boxes from The Chef’s Garden are regeneratively farmed with the same time and attention as the fresh vegetables, microgreens, herbs and edible flowers that we grow and ship to top chefs and restaurants around the globe.
Options for your gift-giving include:
Best of the Season: We bring the Farmer Jones® market to you! Home chefs can order sustainably farmed produce, the same quality that top chefs use. This farmer’s market delivery box may contain a mix of fresh lettuce; a mixture of fresh beets, turnips, carrots and/or kohlrabi; and the best microgreens: which could include mustard, sage, sorrel, basil, bulls blood, cutting celery, radish greens and more. Products will vary based on the season and availability.
Anti-Aging Mix: These flavorful, farm-fresh vegetables are chockfull of nutrients that promote anti-aging. Although specifics of the vegetables will vary by season, they include delicious ones that help to reduce inflammation while promoting skin integrity—and otherwise help promote anti-aging. For example, carrots contain vitamin A, a vitamin that’s applied topically in anti-aging formulations. Plus, a magnesium deficiency has been linked to aging cells—and lettuce is a wonderful source of magnesium, a mineral also playing a key role in colon and heart health. The anti-aging box of vegetables may also contain broccoli, parsnips, leeks, kale, sweet potatoes, spinach and/or beet greens.
Detoxification Mix: This box is full of farm-fresh vegetables that promote healthy, natural detoxication. Although specifics will vary by season, this box includes delicious choices that improve digestion while supporting liver, gallbladder and bowel health. Carrots and parsnips, for example, provide plenty of vitamin A and support liver health, while nutrients found in radishes can help to support healthy functioning of your gallbladder and liver. In the springtime, this box may contain asparagus, which contains chromium—which can play a role in reducing cravings for sugar. This detoxification box of fresh vegetables may also contain beets, beet greens, lettuce, turnips and/or leeks.
Optimal Health Mix: These delicious, nutritious farm-fresh vegetables are included to support optimal health for your family. Because we farm in harmony with Mother Nature, specifics of what’s inside varies by season but, for example, this box may include beans—a marvelous source of fiber, essential for good health, as well as a great source of magnesium and calcium. Lettuce also provides magnesium, which plays a role in heart and colon health. Beets, meanwhile, can help to manage cholesterol levels and contribute to liver health. This box of fresh vegetables may also contain snow peas, bok choy, asparagus, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and/or parsnips.
We look forward to providing you with farm-fresh vegetables for your holiday get-togethers, as well as for unique gifts.
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. Wishing you happiness.” (Helen Keller)