Ideas for a Picturesque Picnic

Sure we’d all love to be whisked away to the Haleakala National Park in Hawaii, the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris, or one of National Geographic’s other picks for the “World’s Best Picnic Spots.” But all that is really required to be able to enjoy a picturesque picnic is a nice spot outdoors and a little planning.

As New York Times writer Mark Bittman puts it, “There is something both innocent and exciting about a picnic, even if you are only packing a few things at the last minute and heading down the street to the park.” So, let’s plan a picnic!

hickory farms

Photo by Amy Moss via Eat Drink Chic

We think some of the best advice for a carefree picnic comes from Reader’s Digest, who says, “Take as much finger food as possible.” This way, you can travel light with less plates and sets of silverware!

In pursuit of mastering the “fine art of picnic-packing,” Washington Post writer Lavanya Ramanathan inquired from the experts on what foods are the most basket-friendly and any other tricks of the picnic trade. Stick to firmer cheeses, the recommendation was, because they will do well outdoors for hours even in the heat. Then, add fuss-free gourmet touches such as pears, almonds, and a couple of jams.  Remember that “smart picnickers pre-slice.”

If you’d like to pair your cheese with wine, be sure to check the rules on booze in the area you plan to picnic, especially if it’s a public park. To chill drinks, consider skipping the heavy cooler and looking for a smaller alternative, like an insulated lunch bag. Then, you can slip in a little chocolate or other small treat (just be sure to throw them in a sealed plastic bag first to avoid any soggy messes).

And while we’re on the subject of soggy-free storage, a picnic is a wonderful opportunity to try your hand at the “mason jar meal.” These convenient and sturdy screw-top containers are ideal for carrying individual servings of salads and even beverages.

Don’t have a picnic basket? Hop over to the Hickory Farms online shop and order one of our gourmet food baskets complete with all the tasty finger foods and treats you need for a delicious picnic that requires no preparation time at all! Our new spring gourmet food baskets are ready to help you turn an ordinary lunch into a delightful afternoon of picnicking!

hickory farms baskets

Spring Salads & Summer Smoothies

As the weather starts warming up, many people tend to shift their diets just a bit to incorporate lighter meals filled with fresh fruits and veggies. Whipping up a cool, refreshing smoothie or salad makes for a great meal on a spring or summer day because they are quick to make and since you don’t have to use the oven or grill, you’ll stay nice and cool while preparing your meal!

If you’re in need of a few new ides for fresh fruit smoothies and salads, check out some of these great recipes we’ve recently come across.

This mango-peach smoothie includes a little bit of orange juice and vanilla soy milk, creating a creamy, sweet treat.


smoothie ideas

Photo via All Recipes


A Kiwi Sensation smoothie made with kiwi, mango, and pineapple can also be made with spinach to get a little bit of your daily dose of veggies in!

smoothie ideas

Photo via All Recipes

When it comes to salads, you can stick to traditional fruit salad recipes or add an extra splash of flavor and texture to a vegetable-based salad. Either way, you’ll have a delicious dish that is also nutritious.


If you’re craving for a taste of your favorite island paradise, this tropical fruit salad will do the trick. Its ingredients include mangoes, pineapple, pomegranate seeds, and dried coconut. Yum!

Photo via Epicurious

Radiance Fruit Salad combines some of the best flavors of spring and summer – kiwi, cantaloupe, and strawberries topped with a honey, lime, and mint dressing.

gourmet fruit baskets

Photo via Food Network

Or give this Crunchy Fennel and Green Apple Salad a whirl. Extra-thin Granny Smith apple slices add just the right touch of tartness for a refreshing summer salad.

hickory farms

Photo via Cooking Channel

Of course, you can always make your favorite fruit salad into a smoothie by altering the recipe just a bit and tossing it in the blender. Or, you can use this fruit salad smoothie recipe for guidance. It’s made with grapes (red or green – your choice), an orange, pineapple, cucumber, carrot, and apples.

fruit salad ideas

Photo via Food Network

What are your favorite fruits to mix up in smoothies and salads during the spring and summer? Leave a comment to share with us.

Teacher Appreciation Day is May 7, 2013!

The old saying goes that “an apple for the teacher will always do the trick when you don’t know your lesson in arithmetic.” But as Eric Hoffer once wisely said, “The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.” May 7, 2013 is Teacher Appreciation Day and a wonderful opportunity to teach kids about the importance of expressing gratitude.

hickory farms gifts

Photo via Vorakorn/

How the tradition of giving a teacher an apple first came about is still a bit of a mystery. Some say the tradition is rooted in the fact that apples once served as a common form of compensation. Others say the association of apples with education began because apples are symbolic of learning right from wrong (remember our curious friends Adam and Eve?). But as most of us know, the only teachers still getting apples from their students are most likely only the ones in the movies. But here at Hickory Farms, we love the idea of reinventing this tradition!

Instead of sending your student to school with an apple, how about sending a gorgeous fruit basket to the teachers lounge for the whole faculty to enjoy? Hickory Farms has several fruit baskets and fruit gift boxes that would be perfect for parents and students to say “Thank you” to teachers. Our Fruitful Gift Tower or Fresh Fruit Medley Gift Box, for example, are two gifts that are sure to be a big hit with teachers!

Our Fruitful Gift Tower includes 2 Signature Beef Summer Sausages, 2 Farmhouse Cheddar wedges, a smoked Cheddar Blend, 6 D’Anjou ® Pears, Olive Oil & Rosemary Crackers, and our Berry Nut Bounty Mix.

gift ideas for teachers

Our Fresh Fruit Medley Gift Box includes 3 Bartlett Green Pears, 2 Bartlett Red Pears, 3 Red Delicious Apples, and 3 Navel Oranges.

gift ideas for teachers

Parents, how will you be saying “Thank you” to teachers this Teacher Appreciation Day? Share with us in a comment below.