LOCALLY SOURCED food has traditionally been the main focus at Sacramento’s annual farm-to-fork dinner on Tower Bridge. But now, locally grown flowers are getting in on the act.
Organizers of the 2019 dinner asked Loomis flower farmer Lisa Thibodeau of Happy Road Farm to supply the florals for the event. In the past, local flowers have gotten short shrift at the dinner, which features local produce, meats, fish, wine and other products.
For the long dining tables on the bridge, Thibodeau supplied olive tree branches cut from two felled olive trees at Twin Peak Orchards in Newcastle. Using flowers from her farm and other local flower farms, she designed arrangements for the entry tables, dessert tables and bars. Volunteers from Sacramento Valley Flower Collective, a group of farmers and florists that promotes local flowers, helped assemble the arrangements.
For the two entry tables (one on either end of the bridge), Thibodeau cut an old fruit crate in half to make two boxes, which she filled with lush roses, dahlias and other florals. At the base of each crate, she placed tiny apples, persimmons and quince for a look of verdant abundance. For some of the smaller arrangements, Thibodeau used an unlikely floral: sheaves of rice harvested by Rue & Forsman, an Olivehurst rice producer. “Rice is a grain, so it’s hardy, and it dries nicely. It’s great to use in arrangements,” she says.
Her goal in participating in the bridge dinner was simple, she says: to get diners to “think about your flowers the way you think about your food.”