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entertainingFood & Drinkoutdoorstudio choowe like it wild

we like it wild: fall market to table

by Grace Bonney

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All it takes is one big rainstorm to make everything feel like fall all of a sudden. Luckily we made it out to San Francisco’s Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market last Saturday, one step ahead of the cold front, and found some inspiring autumnal treasures to build this week’s Market to Table arrangement.

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We knew we wanted to use warm, fall colors, but we arrived at the market without anything specific in mind and just let our imaginations take charge. With tons of vendors selling everything from rustic honeycombs and pungent cheeses, to geranium plants and coffee brewed by the cup (yum), this market hosts farmers who bring their best produce and freshest flowers straight from the field to your table.

And it’s a great place to test your produce knowledge. For example, did you know that carrots don’t have to be long and lean? Apparently they also come as thick and stout as russet potatoes (and our favorite shape- a pair of small pants). When we saw these crazy carrots we flipped for them and knew we had to use them in this week’s arrangement, hence the carrot vase was born!

CLICK HERE for the full arrangement how-to (and 8 more pictures) after the jump!

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After selecting two fairly fat fellows we hit up the flower stands for some oranges, reds and yellows to deck out our “vases”. While we were at it, we couldn’t help loading up on other delicious root vegetables for our dinner plates, too: what a perfect night for homemade stew. We typically don’t buy mixed flowers, but this project is the perfect reason to select a bunch with a variety of blooms. You can pull out what you want for the centerpiece (we call it a bits and bits arrangement) and display the remaining stems in a mason jar.

When we got back to the house it was simply a matter of spooning out enough orangey-insides from our fatty carrots to make enough room for a few stems and berries. We used a paring knife to cut the shape of the hole then used a sturdy metal spoon to scoop. A few inches wide and about an inch deep and we were in business. If you are worried about leaks you can line the hole with plastic wrap before adding the water. We let some fall berries trail off to the side for a bit of an abundant, cornucopia effect. If we said carrot-copia would that be too much? Okay, we won’t say it.

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To make this arrangement yourself, find some huge carrots or other hearty root vegetables, cut holes and scoop away the center deep enough for some short stems to stand. Obviously, we didn’t peel our carrots or do much in the way of cleaning; we liked the rustic, straight from the ground look our carrots had. Rubber band a small group of flowers together and cut them short enough to rest in the carrot hole. Once the first bunch is firmly in place you can add in some smaller individual flowers and berry sprigs to fill out along the edges. If you have one larger stem (like our dahlia) you could also “float” him in the carrot and place a few small seasonal stems on the outer edges. You’ll have to check the water level frequently- this guy would work well as a centerpiece that doesn’t need to be super long lasting. Ours looked good for about three days, but it will no doubt last through a dinner party and spark some colorful conversation.

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