An Easter Picnic from Jessamyn Harris & Monkey Flower Group
March 25, 2013
Outdoor PartyEasterTablescape
Easter has always ranked amongst one of my favourite holidays, if only because it brings with it the Spring season (oh, and chocolate. The chocolate definitely helps). This woodsy picnic contains an abundance of stunning florals from The Monkey Flower Group, adorable, excitable kidlets and an organic inspired table top, designed and photographed by Jessamyn Harris, which is enough to shoot my Spring fever into full force territory. See more from this beautiful shoot in the gallery.
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From Jessamyn Harris... I recently photographed a unique, woodsy picnic spread with the Monkey Flower Group of Napa. The idea was to capture the very early spring beauty here in Sonoma County. We chose a nearby park with old oak trees, green grass (something you only see here in the winter and early spring!), and a fabulous concrete picnic table. Jaime, of the Monkey Flower Group's, idea was to source locally for everything we needed to create a simple but stunning picnic lunch. With a small creek trickling in the background, sweet little girls playing with their silk ribbon wands and fresh fare, there was so much to capture. Spring is so heavenly, it was great to appreciate its natural palette!

From Jaime of the Monkey Flower Group...I was looking to create a very natural but sophisticated Easter picnic celebration that complemented the beautiful muted colors of early spring in Northern California. I dyed the eggs with red cabbage and the silk ribbon with cabernet grape skins from last fall's crush, and let the resulting colors set the palette. Luckily, the blue and the mauve perfectly complemented two really awesome floral superstars of this time of year - hellebores, which I grow a lot of, and pride of Madeira, which I purchase from a great grower down in Daly City. I added locally grown botanical textures, such as tendrilly vetch, emerald green spring ferns, rust colored oak leaves, celadon lichen, and wiry Icelandic poppy buds. Hazelnut praline quail eggs from La Foret Chocolates completed the woodsy feel of the tablescape, and beautiful mauve and pink pansy favors from DJs Growing Ground added a fun, fanciful, and overtly Easter-y touch. Chelsea Strong designed crisp paper goods to ground the whole look and provide a touch of (albeit playful) formality. 

The food and drinks also paid homage to the local landscape and season. Chef Morgan Robinson of SMOKE Open Fire Cooking, located in Napa and specializing in menus featuring local ingredients and artisan food producers, all employing sustainable practices, prepared chicken fricassee with spring vegetables and herb sauce and a salad of carmelized beets, beet greens, aged balsalmic, farm cheese, pepitas, and blood orange oil. 

The specialty cocktail of the celebration was a local take on the classic Blue Moon, featuring homemade violet simple syrup, Meyer lemons, and Terroir Gin from St. George Spirits in Alameda, a highly aromatic gin redolent of local botanicals such as California bay, douglas fir, and coastal sage.

[dotted]Photography by: Jessamyn Harris | Catering by: SMOKE Open Fire Cooking | Terroir Gin by: St. George Spirits | Hazelnut praline quail eggs by: La Forêt Chocolate | Pansy plants by: DJ's Growing Place | Florals and hand dyed silk ribbons by: The Monkey Flower Group | Paper goods by: Chelsea Strong | Napa Rentals by: Wine Country Party & Events