Tablescape by Melissa Martinez, Imagine Design Create Inspire @i.d.c.i. Photography by Martha Marisa Photography. Model Anais Valdez Makeup. Written by Alicia Walters for Living TC Magazine. Originally published in the Summer 2017 issue, here.
We think of picnics as a one-time thing or reserved for a family reunion but actually in the summertime in the Tri-Cities, we are constantly picnicking, whether we’re eating at a Farmers Market or at the park with our friends or children or if we’re just eating in our backyard.
During picnicking weather, I like to have the essentials already placed in the trunk of my car such as: camping chairs, an outdoor blanket, sunscreen, bug repellant, hat, sunglasses, Frisbee, football, paper plates and napkins as well as a couple trash bags to help with cleanup. For my children, I pack a few sand buckets and shovels, towels and anything else they typically need.
My favorite food to serve at a picnic usually comes from the many farmers markets we have going on all summer. I like to stop by the market with my family, pick up our lunch and since the car is already packed, we are then ready to enjoy our picnic wherever we decide to land. It’s a really effortless way to go about it.
The Pasco Farmers Market runs June – August Wednesdays 8 am to noon. The Historic Downtown Kennewick Farmers Market runs June – October Thursdays 4 – 7 pm. Market at the Parkway in Richland runs June – October Fridays 9 am – 1 pm. There are several more, including pop-up markets. Follow along @whenintricities on Instagram as we visit the farmers markets throughout the summer.
When we’re not eating what we pickup from the farmers market, I like to keep the picnic menu simple and get my guests involved by letting them custom assemble their plates. A sandwich or kabob bar is a classic. For the sandwich bar, I like to go to Albertson’s deli and get fresh slices of sandwich meats and cheese. Pack several spreads such as pesto, vinaigrette or Dijon as well as the usual standbys. For the kabob bar, if you won’t have access to a grill, pre-dice cold cuts of ham, turkey and a variety of cheeses as well as pickles and peppers and pack skewers. Don’t forget the cooler filled with drinks!
Bring a guitar if you or someone in your party plays or bring a portable lawn game. Have something planned that is easy, that people can relate with and that will encourage people to stay off their phones and just soak in the simplicity of a warm summer afternoon. Lisa Peppard of Artful Virgo, a calligraphy business in the Tri-Cities designs makes hand lettered signs and place cards for special event picnics such as birthdays and reunions. “Hand-written words set the tone and evoke feelings before they are even read,” Lisa says. See more @artful.virgo on Instagram.
Some favorite spots include: Howard Amon Park in Richland (splash pool), Grange Park and Demonstration Gardens in Kennewick (splash pad), Chiawana Park in Pasco (sand volleyball and view of the Blue Bridge), and Leslie Groves Park in Richland (sand volleyball). Two Rivers Park in Finley offers Frisbee golf and a duck pond. One of the most popular places for a picnic is Columbia Park in Kennewick (splash pad, kiddie train, Sno-shack, and duck pond). Located along the Sacajawea Heritage Trail, it offers 22 miles of continuous paved walking and biking trails. It’s a great place to picnic and enjoy recreation.
If you have access to a boat, picnicking on the Columbia River is a great way to see the Tri-Cities from a different angle and enjoy the water that our area has to offer. Or hike Badger Mountain and enjoy the panoramic view of the city below while you picnic. Wood pallets are a fun way to dress up a picnic spread because there are so many diverse ways you can incorporate them into a picnic theme. Picnic for the 4th of July, throw a Fiesta or create an elegant tasting table picnic setting.