There’s nothing quite like spreading out a checkered blanket in Sheep’s Meadow or Ditch Plains and soaking up the sun while sipping a crisp summer white and sharing fresh farmers market veggies with friends.
This year, local restaurants and new food companies want to make that experience super easy for you, with pre-packaged picnic totes full of carefully sourced, delicious goodies you’ll be reluctant to share.
They’re near perfect for weeks when work has left you exhausted and without a moment to grocery shop or days when you really want to impress your cool friends with a Martha Stewart level spread.
Here are three ways to pack a healthy New York picnic this season without sacrificing a moment of summer relaxation time.
This nutritionist-created West Village cafe features some of the healthiest tasty food in the city, so you won’t need to end your picnic with an overstuffed nap. To fill your canvas tote, you call or email the restaurant an hour ahead of your pick-up time and choose two sandwiches and two medium-sized salads, vegetables, or grains from the daily, seasonal selections. Think pesto roast chicken sandwiches, kale salads with shaved watermelon radishes, and Madagascar pink rice with spiced cashews and ginger. You’ll also get two coconut macaroons or dark chocolate brownie bites, and still or sparkling waters.
Plan a picnic to Hudson River Park for a waterfront feast, and stop to pick up this tote packed with artisanal products from The Brooklyn Kitchen—like winesap apples from the Fingerlakes, McClure’s Garlic Dill Pickles, and Brooklyn’s own Mast Brothers chocolate bars. The curated spread is meant for four but could easily feed more, unless you hang with a super hungry foodie crew. (Call 212-582-7943 to order; online ordering is expected to be available soon.)
The former co-owner of Soho’s popular (but now shuttered) The Dalloway, Lexi Stolz is now delivering high-end local food to Hamptons goers with South Fork & Spoon. The company makes lots of meal packages for those who want to maximize beach (not kitchen) time, like ready-to-grill dinners, DIY cocktail parties—and three different sand-ready picnic baskets with foods sourced from local spots like Pike Farm Stand, Round Swamp Farm, and The Seafood Shop. The picnics do include a fair amount of bread and cheese. (And check out that pie!) But if you’re looking for something lighter, vegetarian, or gluten-free, say, they encourage you to customize. —Lisa Elaine Held