Utah markets share ideas for packing a great picnic
Warm weather and picnics go together like fried chicken and potato salad.
Whether you’re headed to the park, on a hike or an outdoor concert, it’s important to fill your basket, backpack or cooler with enjoyable food.
“Picking items that either need no preparation or can be easily prepped at home and packaged up … is what makes for a stress-free picnic,” said Andy Fitzgerrell, specialty buyer at the Whole Foods store in Sugar House, one of six businesses that have suggested some picnic-to-go menus for your next outdoor adventure.
To the park • For an easy meal, pick up the chicken curry salad with carrots, scallion, fennel and dried cranberries at Liberty Heights Fresh. (2 packs for $6.99 each). Serve it on Crumb Brother’s baguette ($3.79) or eat alone, said Erica Sykes, marketing manager. Or get the bread and enjoy it with cheese and jam. Two customer favorites are the Dulcinea, a nutty, sweet and tangy raw sheep’s milk cheese from Rexburg, Idaho (about 1/4 lb. for $7.50); and Amour Spreads Blackberry Jam, made with local fruit ($7.99 for a 4-ounce jar ). Complete the picnic with seasonal fruit and chocolate dipped coconut macaroons, made in-house from local egg whites, organic coconut, cane sugar, vanilla, almonds and chocolate ($4.99)
Liberty Heights Fresh • 1290 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City; open Monday-Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m., Sunday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Concert meal • Fitzgerrell, at the Whole Foods, suggests starting a pre-concert meal with Utah-made Happy Monkey Hummus ($3.69) served on 365 Organic Water Crackers ($1.99). Peel and slice Utah-made Creminelli salami ($10.99-$15.99 each) ahead of time and serve with Parrano cheese, a cross between gouda and Parmesan that won’t got bad if it’s not kept cold and is easy to slice (about $6 for precut package)
Whole Foods makes and sells three kinds of Ficelle sandwiches. These mini-baguettes have a choice of grilled vegetables and hummus ($5), turkey, provolone and roasted tomato ($6) and a turkey club ($6).
Snack on Utah-made PopArt Rosemary Truffle popcorn ($3.99). “That stuff is crack,” he said.
For dessert choose one of the store’s new brownie and bar cookies. There are about 30 choices, from chocolate crinkles and sugar cookies to vegan brownies. ($9.99/a pound, or about $3 for 6 small cookies). Quench your thrist with Santa Cruz lemonade or natural sodas made with real sugar instead of corn syrup ($1-$2.50).
Kid-friendly • If the kids are coming, then you’ll need to keep your picnic simple because “Easy yummy food = happy kiddos,” says Mary Rice, spokesperson for Harmons Grocery Stores. The delicatessen has fresh-made sandwiches and wraps for $4.99 each, including barbecue, chicken, turkey cranberry and turkey avocado and club. Potato salad is the obvious side dish ($3.99 per pound). Try Stacy’s pita chips ($3.99) in place of regular potato chips and pick up a carton of strawberries with the store’s fruit dip ($2.99). For dessert, Harmon’s sells gluten-free cookies from the Utah-based company Lucky Spoon Bakery ($3.99). Make sure the kids stay hydrated with juice or water (Crystal Geyer Juice Squeeze for $2.50).
Locavore lunch • Utah watermelons and tomatoes aren’t available yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fill your basket with locally grown produce. “There is an ample supply of locally grown greens, herbs and other cool-weather vegetables available right now,” said Maryann Alston, director Wasatch Front Farmers Market, a year-round, brick-and-mortar farmers market in Murray.
She suggests making a veggie wrap. Spread Laziz Muhamara Red Pepper Dip ($7) on a tortilla. Top with chopped vegetables such as: shredded zucchini from Mololo Gardens ($1), chopped asparagus from Day’s Farms ($2), chopped portabella mushroom from Mountain View Mushrooms ($2), chopped yellow onions from Layton ($1), cilantro from Kawahara Farms ($1), Nature Jim’s broccoli sprouts ($2), and Deer Creek Foods spinach tortillas ($4). Roll up and cut in half.
Create your own baked kale chips, using kale from Mololo Gardens ($4), seasoned with Millcreek Olive Oil’s Truffle Salt and Olive Oil ($3). (See recipe.) For a unique, locally made drink, try Mamachari Kombucha Mixed Berry Kombucha Tea ($3/each). Don’t forget a few mini pies from The Sweet Potato Pie Bakery ($3/each), in West Jordan, for dessert.
Wasatch Front Farmers Market • 5823 S. State, Murray; open Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Vegging out • Cali’s Natural Foods, which specializes in vegetarian and vegan food, sells many specialty items that are served at its sister restaurants — Sage’s Cafe, Vertical Diner and Cafe SuperNatural. Owner Ian Brandt said the Sage’s Cafe carrot-butter pate ($6.73) and fresh basil-walnut pesto are great when spread on Vosen’s 7-Grain baguette ($3.59). Cut up cucumbers and summer squash (1 lb. for $2) and buy some organic dehydrated mango, which is sweet “without the mess of slicing a fresh one,” said Brandt. And for dessert, the gluten-free Utah apple bar ($2.50) is made with preserved local fruit, and is one of the “best hand-held desserts I have ever had,” Brandt said. The store also makes and sells a hemp seed organic brownie and an organic raw gluten-free Kahuna confection for the same price. After Cali’s, stop at the wine store — just one block away — for a bottle of Trebbiano from Utah-based Kiler Grove Winegrowers.
Cali’s Natural Foods • 389 W. 1700 South, Salt Lake City; open Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Road trip • Stopping for fast food on a road trip is a terrible idea, says Matt Caputo, director of marketing at Tony Caputo’s Market and Deli. He sees packing the car and heading on the road as a cause for celebration, so he prefers using the same foods that he would serve at a party at his house.
Start with Caputo’s house-made burrata cheese ($4.50 for 4 ounces) and Creminelli truffled wild boar salami ($7.15 for a half stick) on sliced baci rolls. Think of the rich, creamy burrata “as a triple cream mozzarella,” he said. His store is the only one in the country to carry the limited-edition, Utah salami. “Sliced extra thick, it is easy to pass around and nosh while keeping eyes on the road,” Caputo said. He also recommends Castelvetrano Sicilian olives ($2.24/lb), known for being sweet, nutty and crisp.
Caputo’s three-meat Muffaletta sandwiches ($8.25 each) made with mortadella, prosciutto cotto and Genoa salami are great on the go. “These sandwiches are ginormous so half is plenty for one person,” said Caputo, adding that the meats and the ciabatta roll are easy to bite through.
For dessert, get Spanish Rabitos (99 cents each), made with dried fig, truffle and liquor filling, surrounded by a chocolate coating.
Caputo’s Market and Deli • two locations 314 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City; open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; and 1516 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City; open Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.