Forage’s Bohemian Dinner Party

Posted on June 13, 2013 by


© Cville Niche, forage menuAnother forage dinner party, another magical evening. Another inspired atmosphere, another spark of community around a table.

Forage’s latest dinner series – Color me Bohemian – was inspired by everything from a Costa Rican outdoor festival to an Anthropologie catalog. The idea of creating “micro-spaces” was brought to life alongside colorful fabrics, canopies, throw pillows, and a day bed.

Justin Stone and Megan Kiernan, the duo behind forage, are not only gracious hosts, but also innovative party planners and space creators. There is nothing in Charlottesville that compares to the intimate embrace of a forage dinner party. Look out for their upcoming dinner parties later this year!

View more photos of the event on our Facebook page >>
Read our Boho Style Guide >>

“A Whimsical Picnic, a Moroccan Dinner, inspired by an image, a word, a painting, an old window frame, an ingredient, a recently read book, a movie, a cookbook. The dinner series by forage is just that – inspired.” {excerpt from the November feature} What was the inspiration for this boho-inspired series?

forage tableAs always this series was inspired by an array of surroundings, experiences and items. Here are several of them:

  • Following our Hemingway’s Paris series, Megan traveled to Costa Rica for a week. She attended an outdoor festival whose creators had established “micro-spaces” through the jungle by building structures, streaming fabrics and things through the trees, and laying out mats for people to commune on. They pulled heavily from the material around them to create the spaces. This experience certainly influenced how we arrange the outdoor space © Cville Niche, spoon and forkthis time; as we used our own fabrics and materials to construct the setting for Color Me Bohemian.
  • A couple recent issues of the Anthropologie catalog helped inspire the color palate and decision to build the bamboo structures.
  • For Christmas Megan received a spring loaded pair of fabric scissors from her mother. After this no sweater, sheet, or tee shirt was safe. There are now two pairs of these scissors and countless yards of re-purposed fabric.
  • During a small acoustic concert held in the Blenheim Vineyards library earlier this spring the semi-monochromatic arrangements of books and décor captured my attention. Those guys and gals have a really great aesthetic up there. The visual stuck with me [Justin] and we decided to put a more colorful spin on it for our inside décor.

© Cville Niche, Forage

Foraging for the decor – or atmosphere – is very much a part of bringing each dinner series to life. What pieces stand out this series? (Talk about the specifics of thrifting, borrowing, reclaiming, etc.) What I want to know is… will the Whimsical Picnic and Preserves’ wheelchair make another appearance?

© Cville Niche, forage house by nightPulling this series together ended up being an ideal blend of thifting, borrowing, and original construction. We reclaimed many items from the shed that we’ve used for past dinners, including the three-tier lamp, but this time we browsed with a new focus on color. The netting from the Moroccan series was dyed along with doilies thrifted from Sprouse’s Furniture. Bob Putnam, the builder and owner of Megan’s cottage, hauled over the painted claw foot[less] bath tub for us to borrow. Beneath the bamboo canopy that we built from boughs cut from a nearby stand we reconstructed an old daybed from the shed. These two features together are among our favorites; and yes the wheelchair was rolled out again.

From pastry puffs and curry with coconut rice, to lemon-tahini and strawberry rhubarb, the menu is filled with an eclectic array of tastes and textures. Talk about the inspiration for the menu, and how the flavors and dishes will work together as a whole experience.

For this series I [Megan] wanted to create food that felt vaguely exotic but that did not necessarily feel tied specifically to a place or time. Color became a primary focus, as did exploring flavors and ingredients that I was interested in. With a late start to the growing season as compared to last year I was limited by what was available but since the series has spanned over a month I have been able to adjust the menu as new foods arrive.

© Cville Niche, asparagus and cocounut rice

How did foraging inspire this menu – what local foraging (businesses, farms, fields) was done to accomplish this feast?

We were really driven by what was available this time, or rather, what was not available. The growing season seemed about three weeks behind where it was last year but since the series corresponded with spring the menu has varied dinner to dinner.

– violets and dandelions for wild flower pesto [while supplies lasted]
© Cville Niche, chopping asparagus– wild thistle stalks [second dinner]
– watercress [appearing in the third dinner]
– wood sorrel [will take the place of the wild flower pesto]

– livers – Free Union Grass Farm [for pate]
– bacon – Rock Barn [for pate]
– trout – Madison Trout
– asparagus – City Market suppliers
– rhubard – Radical Roots, Jam According to Daniel
– kale – Doube H Farm, Megan’s Gardan
© Cville Niche, dessert– lamb – Pair-a-Dice Farm
– strawberries – City Market suppliers, Seaman’s Orchard

Artisans and Businesses:
– Potter’s Cider
– Feast!
– Albemarle Bread Company
– Grand Market
– Spice Diva
– Seafood@WestMain
– Market Street Wine Shop

In my first interview with you all, shortly after the Whimsical Picnic and Preserves series wrapped, you talked about the idea of bringing the inside outside, the freedom of it. What about this outdoor, boho-inspired event will transform space? How will it differ from past outdoor forage events?

Instead of bringing the” inside out” to create the space we relied on the natural spaces already created and sought to highlight them with elements from inside but also from elements take directly from nature

© Cville Niche, ladies at forage

Forage is on such a great run, and we cannot wait to see what you all do next. Talk about the long term goals for forage, and how you both continue to find inspiration and innovation for these dinners.

We are certainly looking to increase the number of Forage dinners we host over the course of the year. While Megan and I have both found out that creative energy is not exhaustible, Forage continues to be enjoyable because it taps into inherent passions of ours. We have many ideas stored up for future dinners and look forward to new and returning guest joining out tables.

© Cville Niche, ladies at forage