When winter finally breaks, and spring emerges, there is a palpable sense of revival in plants and people alike. Those initial days of sunshine teeter between winter’s dormancy and spring’s rebirth. Slipping into one of Pittsburgh’s urban forests is one of the most experiential ways to observe this seasonal transition.
Spindly branches will one day fill with florals. Muddy paths will thicken with greens, bold blooms, and branches. Murky waters will soon sparkle. The damp chill in the air will eventually welcome a hillside’s intense rays of heat. Birds will chirp, and butterflies will flutter against the bright blue skies. This infancy stage of spring in the damp woods was the motivation for Harvest & Gather’s Forest Feast. It was a brunch ode to the rebirth of spring.
The brunch began with homemade shrub and appetizers on the sunny sidewalk. In addition to broadening the overall experience of the brunch, curating different spaces allows more time to be focused on final table touches without inconveniencing guests. Later at the table, guests mixed champagne and a splash of a sparkling spring punch.
Additionally, the Forest Feast brunch showcased talented makers and the expertise of friends. Taking place in the Harvest & Gather studio, the custom decor featured several DIY and local touches. There were woodland ornaments from Strip District shop Roxanne’s Dried Flowers, as well as Darren Myers’ hand-turned wooden bowls, live-edge place settings and coasters. Darren is a local woodworker who often uses reclaimed wood from trees surrounding his Polish Hill workshop.
We marked each place setting with painted, vintage tea cups filled with plants. Thommy calligraphed each guest’s name on the natural cardstock tags, as well as care instructions for the plants.
The meal concluded with Kira Hoeg’s coffee insights. Having traveled the world in pursuit of cultural experiences and the perfect cup, Kira chose a bean specifically for this spring gathering.
Using a Chemex pour-over system, Kira served Las Capucas Cooperative from Honduras. The cooperative’s mission is to contribute to a better use of environmental, financial and human resources to improve the quality of life and the quality of coffee produced in the region. A good gathering is even better when it supports a good cause!
The coffee’s tasting notes of red currant and dark chocolate paired smoothly with the dessert course featuring a Whole-Wheat, Dark Chocolate, Cardamom, Carrot Cake, with Chocolate-Filled Quail Eggs, perched festively on a tree-trunk stand.
*Harvest & Gather is a bespoke branding & event design collaboration between floral designer/painter Thommy Conroy and myself.