A Michigan Harbor County “Napa” Dinner

Enjoying a sit-down dinner outside and toasting your friends and family with your feet planted in the grass – or even better, the sand – ­at sunset is the essence of summer . One of our favorite summertime experiences is attending  an Outstanding in the Field dinner where local chefs partner with farmers to serve a farm-to-table dinner outside, right in the middle of the farm.  Delightful.

We like to decorate long, communal tables with nothing more than wooden wine boxes overflowing with bunches of fresh herbs with small scissors for snipping. Then we punctuate the table with jugs of olive oil, sea salt cellars and ramekins filled with herbed butters free for  passing. Of course, no wine-country-inspired evening would be complete without…wine.    If you’re trying to conjure up Napa, there is no investment like hiring your favorite sommelier to guide you and your guests through a perfectly paired evening.  (If you’re stuck for a connection, ask our friends at Binny’s.)

A simple market green salad, served family-style,  with locally pickled vegetables, heirloom tomatoes, and creamy bocconcini is a cool accompaniment to a comforting roast chicken with herbs.  As the sun sets, overflowing platters of berries and fresh whipped cream appear aside icebox pies such as lemon meringue or chocolate cream.