Trever Hill Design + The White House Co. + Luna Fargo + Benjamin Custom Homes
Story by Trever Hill, Nikki Berglund, Tracy Nicholson
Photography by M. Schleif Photography
This month, we're taking you on a stroll through the woods to the blissful backyard of Jim and Vonda Leiner. To make the most of a gorgeous fall day, Trever Hill and Amanda Rydell gathered a couple of their favorite people for a Friendsgiving picnic on the bank of the Sheyenne River. With a quick stop to Hill's design studio and Rydell's warehouse at The White House Co., they made a beeline to Luna for wine and cheese, then headed out of town to set up camp for a festive fall gathering. After we've counted our blessings and toasted our toes, we'll spill the secret on the picnic's famous pumpkin bread by their friend, Melanie Anderson, and meet Nikki Berglund, the connoisseur behind Luna's fall wine and cheese selection.
The Art of Friendsgiving
"Friendsgiving is a time to gather your friends, have fun and be thankful," explained Trever Hill of Trever Hill Design. "While most only celebrate Thanksgiving with their extended or immediate families - Friendsgiving is that far less formal gathering to celebrate the friends who may not be related, but certainly feel like family. Anyone can do this, you don't need to plan ahead of time, and you don't need a turkey - sometimes it's more fun on a whim. Grab a few items from home and tell your friends to grab a couple of things, then swing by Luna to grab wine and a cheese platter for the perfect Friendsgiving Picnic in the park, backyard or wooded riverbank."
Our Friendsgiving: Trever Hill Explains
"Amanda had a coffee table from Wayfair that was a great size and not too heavy, so we could easily transport it. She also brought some fun pink goblets and throw pillows she made - these can be found at The White House Co."
"My husband, Jesse, and I grabbed a cowhide from home along with Juliska napkins I found at McNeal & Friends last year. I also had some great napkin rings I got on clearance at Target, so we threw those in. The macrame was something we grabbed from home and we hung that up to give our wooded picnic area a sense of place."
"Our friend, Melanie Anderson, a designer at Benjamin Custom Homes, brought a second cowhide with a sheepskin for layering. She also grabbed her picnic basket and a loaf of her homemade pumpkin bread.
While I added the fall wine with the cheese and olives from Luna, Jesse added the final touches by snagging a stump and lanterns from The White House Co. One hour later, and poof...we had ourselves a Friendsgiving picnic!"
"We want people to feel like they can easily do this too. Friendsgiving's focus should be about spending time together and cozying up. It doesn’t need to be a gathering of 20 people; it can simply be a couple of your friends or even a few you want to get to know. Everyone contributes to the food and drink, and collectively, you can pull it together with just a couple of items from each other’s homes. Then, find a park, set it up, get cozy, and make a toast to fall and friends."
Trever Hill, Trever Hill Design
[ Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Bread ]
Melanie Anderson | Designer, Benjamin Custom Homes
Mix together dry ingredients:
In a separate bowl mix these ingredients and whisk until smooth:
Stir the dry ingredients into the bowl of mixed wet ingredients.
Spray two loaf pans with nonstick baking spray and bake @ 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
"This is my go-to pumpkin bread recipe. I bring it every year to Thanksgiving and any fall get-together with my family, and it magically disappears! It's super quick and easy, made with healthy ingredients, and makes two loaves to share."
Fall Wine by Design
[ Nikki Berglund, Luna Fargo & Sol Ave. Kitchen ]
‘Tis the season to be extra thankful and to pay homage to the farmers, fall harvest, and the land from which everything delicious and nutritious comes. For all of us at Luna, this also means celebrating the completion of our new fall wine list. We take this job very seriously - it's important to us that every list not only reflects the time and place we are in, but also that every wine pairs well with our changing seasonal dishes.
With a constant parade of farmers, coming and going from the restaurant, bringing us a plentiful selection of local produce, this is one of the most exciting times of the year. It is these relationships with our farmers, along with our sustainable attitude towards buying local whenever possible, that plays an important role in our restaurant philosophy.
We also extend this ideology to our selection of wines which means that all wines we serve must adhere to a basic level of sustainable vineyard practices, with extra points for taking it even further. On our wine list we provide designations for wines that use “organically grown grapes”, are “vegan”, and most recently those considered “natural” (zero to no intervention in the wine making process) wines. If the topic of natural wines pique your interest, please come and visit us at our newest restaurant, Sol Ave. Kitchen, where our entire wine list falls under this increasingly popular category of “natural.” For more information on our new Luna wines please ask your server next time you visit. Here are some of fall's new favorite cheeses and wines - we hope you enjoy!
How to Choose Wine Responsibly:
What is Sustainable Winegrowing?
“Sustainable winegrowing is a comprehensive set of practices that are environmentally sound, socially equitable and economically viable. Sustainable winegrowing is being used by wine grape growers and vintners throughout California to grow and make high quality grapes and wine. These sustainable vineyard and winery practices conserve water and energy, maintain healthy soil, protect air and water quality, enhance relations with employees and communities, preserve local ecosystems and wildlife habitat, and improve the economic vitality of vineyards and wineries.” Wine Institute (wineinstitute.org)
[Fall Wine & Dine ]
Pierre Sparr Alsace Riesling:
You cannot do Thanksgiving without a Riesling. This versatile and incredibly food-friendly varietal is a must have for any gathering where you have a plethora of contrasting flavors going on. If you're expecting this to be a sweet version, think again. With lovely fruit flavors of apricots, peaches, apples, and nectarines, this high-acid French Riesling may have a hint of sweetness, but it is considered to be a dry style of Riesling. It's that slight hint of sweetness that will pair especially well with the hint of sweetness in the Prairie Sunset cheese. This wine is also “vegan” and has little to no intervention in the wine making process which puts it into the “natural” wine category.
Dry Creek Chenin Blanc:
Considered the most highly awarded Chenin Blanc in the country, this crisp, refreshing, perfectly acidic white wine has been a huge crowd pleaser on our new fall wine list. It is an easy to drink and pleasant option and the citrusy, green apple flavors make it a perfect partner for younger cheeses such as the Fromage d’Affinois, a double cream Brie made from cow’s milk. If you are bored by Chardonnay and/or want something a little different, yet equally people pleasing for your holiday gatherings, this is a great option. These wines are vegan with vineyards that are 100% Certified Sustainable.
J Wilkes Cabernet Sauvignon:
Every once in a while I find a wine that covers all the bases, and for me, this is that wine. Although I was already a fan, when winemaker Wes Hagen came to town to do a wine dinner with us a few months back, it brought my love for these wines to a new level. This guy, who is some kind of mad scientist, went from being an English teacher in Grand Rapids, Minn., to one of the top 100 most influential winemakers in California. All grapes are sourced from the Miller Family Vineyards, which is the largest independently owned, family-run, sustainable vineyard in California. One of the things I love about this Cabernet is how food-friendly it is. Maybe you assumed all Cabernets were food-friendly, but the trend in California over the last 10 to 20 years has been to make heavily oaked, high alcohol versions, which really don’t pair well with a huge number of dishes. This beautiful, perfectly balanced version, will be a great addition to any holiday table or menu. Pair this with the Midnight Moon and you will have one more thing to be thankful for this year.
[ Meet the Cheese ]
Your cheese platter should be a contrast of flavors, colors, and textures. Unless otherwise specified, we almost always include a soft cheese in the mix. The Fromage d’Affinois is a double cream version made from cow’s milk, with a nice creamy texture that doesn’t easily fall apart on the plate, as some of the softer Bries often do. It can be sliced into pretty little triangles without seeping all over the place. This heavenly cheese is like a thick creamy delicious butter that can be slathered all over a nice piece of bread or crackers. Pair this with the Riesling or the Chenin Blanc.
When creating a cheese plate for any gathering, the visual is often as important as the taste, yet cheese in all its dull yellow pleasantness, isn’t always the most visually stunning of appetizers. That is where colorful dried fruits, olives, and a variety of breads and crackers come in handy. We consider the bright orange-colored Prairie Sunset to be a go-to cheese to add to the visual diversity of any cheese platter. This Wisconsin beauty is done in the French Mimolette style and most closely resembles a “cheddar-gouda” type blend. The color comes from the addition of annatto, a natural food coloring derived from the achiote tree. It's a versatile cheese that can pair with most red or white wines.
Besides a variety of textures, it is also fun to experiment with different aged cheeses and the animals that cheese comes from. The Midnight Moon is an aged goat’s milk cheese that has become one of our most popular retail cheese choices. It has been said to turn a goat cheese hater into a goat cheese lover. Pair this nutty, brown buttery goodness with our Cabernet and you will be thanking your lucky stars that these two things exist together in your life.
Pre-Order you Holiday Cheese Plate!
If you're prepping for the holidays or need a clever host gift, Luna has the area's largest selections of artisanal cheeses, ready for the tasting. Swing by the South University restaurant in Fargo to try before you buy, select your own from the case, or ask for the chef's curated selection of favorites. Each cheese plate is served with an array of olives, breads, nuts and dried fruits. If you live across the river, swing by Moorhead's Sol Ave. Kitchen - they may not have the same quantity as their sister kitchen, Luna, but they do carry some of the more popular options. Make sure to specify how many people you're serving and mention any special requests.
For more information, contact:
Sol Ave. Kitchen
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