Going Green Tea Party: The Menu

Farm Stand at York, PA's Central Market House

I can't really give an exact menu for your Going Green Tea Party; I can only share mine. The key element to this tea is to buy local and buy fresh. I'm so fortunate to live in an area with many farmers' markets, farm stands, local butchers, bakers and cheesemakers. Fresh and organic isn't a new concept here. It is a way of life that has never changed. Try to find your own farmers and support them with your business.

The Going Green menu starts with a fresh salad piled with the ripest homegrown tomatoes that can be had. Tomatoes are nature's reward for having to suffer through summer's heat. This salad is dressed simply to allow the tomatoes to take center stage.

Follow the salad with a cup of Chilled Cucumber and Mint Soup. Cukes are so abundant here right now and this soup is a great way to feature them. The soup is wonderfully refreshing on a hot day.

Blueberry is the scone of the day. There is nothing quite like wild Maine blueberries but your own locally grown organic blueberries are delicious too. If you have a pick-your-own blueberry farm, as I do, give them a try. There is no climbing (like apple picking) or bending (like strawberry picking) involved; just stand and pick the berries.

The savory course can be just as green as the others if you base your menu on what you find at market. Today the meat stand had smoked turkey at a great price and the cheese shop had their own homemade maytag blue cheese. Therefore, one of my sandwiches for the tea will be Smoked Turkey with Maytag Blue and Red Onions. I'll bake my own multi-grain bread for the tea sandwichs. Another sandwich anyone can adapt to their region is a Grated Veggie with Cream Cheese. Just about any vegetables can be used for this sandwich. If you can find locally made cream cheese, give it a try. Like most things, the real thing is worlds above what you can buy at the grocery store. Because my fish monger had freshly cooked crabs today, I'm going to make a Fresh Crab Salad. A dozen crabs don't yield very much meat but I'll serve the crab on Chinese soup spoons so everyone can enjoy one glorious bite.

Instead of making several small desserts, using ingredients that come from far away, this menu features Peach Shortcakes with Homemade Ice Cream. The shortcakes are made with whole grain flour and the peaches still warm from the orchard.

You can probably name the places tea is grown, China, Japan, India, Kenya, but did you know that there is one tea plantation in North America? Serve tea from the Charleston Tea Plantation for this Going Green Tea Party. This tea garden is owned by Bigelow. Their website shows a beautiful place and I'd love to visit one day. I've just ordered the tea and will give more details as I post the recipes.

In addition to buying local and fresh, it is important to know exactly what's in your food. With this tea, I'm making everything from scratch. It takes a bit more time and effort but the results are worth it.