The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the mountains in beautiful Durango, Colorado are calling. And boy, are we ready for this season. Not to diss winter at all, which is also a most beloved season here, but these sunshine-filled summer days hold their own unique charm that makes us fall in love with time. We love long days and nights to star gaze, camp, hike, bike, and bask in both doing and not doing. And let’s be honest- we do summertime right in our town. Whether you take to the river for a day excursion of rafting, paddle boarding around Lake Nighthorse, or maybe you prefer mountain biking or e-biking on the Animas River Trail, or hiking one of the areas thirteeners, one element unites all these joyous summer activities:
The body’s need of good food for nourishment and the soul’s need for social connection.
There is nothing that personifies our towns’ favorite summertime activity more than the combination of both body sustenance with the beauty and enjoyment of the outdoors. Not sure what we’re talking about? Think red and white checkerboard tablecloths, baskets filled with yummy foods and the diligent march of determined ants.
Yep, we’re talking about the ever-popular picnic.
Nothing smacks of summer like the picnic. It’s right there along with the smell and taste of farm fresh strawberries, watermelons, Palisade peaches, and the sweet smell of honeysuckle in the evenings. Did you know, here in the U.S, we even celebrate a National Picnic Day (it’s April 23rd, in case you need an excuse to have a picnic). Though here in the high country, we don’t get our picnic on until June!
But how did the modern picnic tradition start and eventually become so omnipresent?
To answer that question, travel with us back in time to France—the late 17th century to be precise. Here is where the French term “pique-nique” was first noted, and originally referred to a dinner, generally eaten indoors, where those present at the dinner contributed a food item to the meal, akin to the modern “potluck”, and still a component of most modern picnics where everyone brings a food item to share.
The English version of the word- the one we now know as “picnic”- first appeared about 100 years later, with a slightly different meaning. It became a term which referred to “dining outside on a blanket”, though the act of “picnicking” was very much a part of medieval and Renaissance life before the term for it caught on. In fact, the earliest picnics in England were an important part of hunting events during medieval times, as participants took part in feasts outside prior to the hunt. As today, these events served as important gatherings for connection, for people to come together to enjoy food and participate in pleasant social exchanges. Food served at these gathering would typically be such items as baked meats, ham, and lots of pastries.
Eating outside or “picnicking” really caught on in England during the Victorian era, where picnics became a prevalent part of all social classes and society, reflected in the rich literature of that time. They became something of a fashionable outdoor party, where one could socialize with friends while partaking in delicious and savory foods while also enjoying the beauty of the surrounding natural scenery. Some of the common foods served at these picnics included meat pies, plum pudding, chicken, and the occasional cold roast beef.
Today, modern picnics are much more casual, and serve as a perfect complement to a sunshine-filled summer day outdoors. And what better way to enjoy a picnic excursion with officemates or family and friend than by bringing along some locally sourced, high quality, fresh eats.
Here in Durango, Sage restaurant loves to cater summertime gatherings and important social events like weddings and anniversaries. In fact, because Sage sources from our community’s local growers and ranchers, its only fitting that Sage caters both funky and classy farm-to-table outdoor soiree’s complete with outdoor dining at long wooden tables, fresh cut wild-flower center pieces, chilled white wine and beer, and a local blue grass band.
Sage restaurant brings the farm to you with boxed-style meals—perfect for outdoor gatherings on a blanket or picnic table in the park. Durango may be a small mountain town, but we have a lot of parks along our Animas River Trail that runs North/South through town.
Choose from a variety of hearty sandwiches made from scratch with homemade sourdough focaccia bread that will have your mouth watering. Picture both meat-based and vegetarian sandwich options- from locals’ favorite TLT (our veggie version of the BLT served with locally-made tempeh and vegan dill aioli) to the New England inspired Turkey Vermonter, served with cranberry aioli, all-natural turkey, and poached apples.
For the calorie conscious, Sage catering offers farm fresh salad and grain bowls, including:
Grapefruit salad with seasonal greens, peas, grapefruit (of course) and avocado, served with a handmade creamy tarragon dressing or try our chop salad with grape tomatoes, feta, cage-free hard-boiled eggs and more.
Other picnic choices include our hearty, Asian peanut bowl with sliced cabbage kale, carrots, garbanzo beans and your choice of chicken or tofu or our Jerk bowl with mixed greens, mango black bean salsa and your choice of pork or tofu.
Buffet-style dining is another option Sage can provide for you.
And don’t forget our scrumptious made-from-scratch-cookies!
If you are out and about in Durango and love the idea of a picnic with some sandwiches, salads, and grain bowls handmade just for you, give Sage Fresh Eats a call or order online and let us whip you up some both tasty and healthy food to fuel you through your summer excursions.
Not sure where the perfect spot to picnic in Durango is? Check out these picnicking places here.
And if you can, make sure to take a look along the Animas River trail as well. Many secret spots with picnic benches reside along the trail and offer perfect picnic accommodations.
Here at Sage Fresh Eats, we take environmental sustainability seriously. We love our customers and the planet, and we strive to consider the environmental impact in every decision we make. This standard goes for our takeaway or “to-go” packaging as well. That’s why we choose the most sustainable options we can when it comes to the challenges around packaging and choose, for example, biodegradable bamboo and plant fiber-based materials for our salad and grain-bowls.
Providing good food to you, our customer, while also doing all that we can to minimize our environmental impact is of utmost importance to us. As the saying goes, “pack it in, pack it out.” Help keep our beautiful town, trails, and river free of trash.
So, as you spread your wings and enjoy the summer season, make sure you get o
utside, drink in the sunshine and have a picnic with some real food that’s real good for you.