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The Baltimore Sun

Throw a farmhouse brunch

A long Sunday brunch is a great way to entertain casually and affordably – especially when the style and menu come straight from the garden. Pottery Barn Style Expert™ Nathan Turner and Chef Ryan Scott share their farmers’ market inspirations for a table for six that adapts to every season. They keep the style factor high and costs low by shopping locally – even from your own backyard and kitchen cupboards – and decorating naturally but cleverly. With organic seasonal elements and materials as simple as butcher paper, metal, pencil and rubber bands, you can create a welcoming atmosphere for friends and family.

Setting Up

You don’t need a big farmhouse to host a Farmhouse Brunch. The elements – a simple seasonal menu, an easy, pretty table, natural decoration and fun company – are easily adapted for urban dwellings, too. The cookbook Fresh from the Farmers’ Market by Janet Fletcher, which features advice from the farmers themselves, can help turn peak-season produce into delicious eating. In decorating, the trick is using accessories to suggest a pastoral setting. Start by expanding the table, flooding the room with sunlight and creating ambience with potted greenery. Balance simple colors and natural materials with smart, creative flourishes. For a casual tablecloth, use layers of brown butcher paper, and draw pencil outlines of place settings, flowers, even personalized messages. Leave the pencils on the table to encourage guests to doodle. Create fun place tags at each seat by writing their names on casually torn squares that are fastened to small juice glasses with rubber bands. The rustic brown butcher paper complements simple but substantial ceramic plates like our Sausalito Collection in Blanca or our beaded Emma Dinnerware. The versatile white color and grand sizes are great for extra helpings of baked eggs, French toast and pear tart. Add our woven Honey Tava charger under the plates for layering and texture.

Fashion an edible napkin holder for each person out of the large outer leaf of a cabbage or yellow-veined chard. Wrap it around a floral-motif napkin like our Claudia Linens, then fasten it with a tied scallion stem, or a simple rubber band.

The weathered charm of galvanized metal looks great both indoors and out. Fill the three tiers of our Galvanized Caddy with heirloom varieties of tomatoes, apples, pears or citrus for a new take on the centerpiece. Give cutlery a unique treatment by placing it in individual galvanized buckets, along with a flower or whole fruit tucked in for whimsical color.

Use airy glassware to bring spaciousness to the table. After plucking off what you need for cooking, divide inexpensive bouquets of sage, rosemary, lavender and flowering thyme among the six glass bud vases of our French wire caddy for a fresh hint of the garden. Above the table, hang multiples of our Mason Jar Candleholders, with herbs or single flowers tucked into the rim with rubber bands.

Time-saving shortcuts are also well-advised. Download our invitations and our iTunes® music playlist instead of making them from scratch. Chef Ryan Scott’s main courses deserve your energy, but fresh-from-the-bakery scones are worth the extra hour spent with friends. Coffee and cheeses served on our Vintage Wood Tray and Cheese Boards are a relaxing way to finish the perfect brunch.


The easy setup of our Farmhouse Brunch is based on tableware basics, such as casual dinnerware sets like the simple white Emma and Sausalito dishes, that can be dressed up or down for the occasion. Set out a selection of classic Café; Glassware for juice and water. The everyday usefulness of these collections makes them both versatile and economical.

Caterer’s Flatware – It’s always a good idea to have a complete matching set of extra knives, forks and spoons, like professional party planners do. This high-quality, 36-piece-set serves 12 for big brunches and dinners year after year.

Linen Hemstitch Napkins – Keep extra cloth napkins on hand. Linen’s casual, nubby weave adds just the right texture to a rustic table.

Establish a separate beverage table with mimosas and sangria, and set out our elegant new Bennett highball glasses and goblets to serve them in. Guests can help themselves to orange juice from the Pinch Glass Pitcher and the sparkling wine in the Rhodes Bucket and Wine Cooler.

Serve baked goods on our Sausalito artichoke plate, and give each guest a small, galvanized metal pail filled with heirloom tomatoes to take home with them.

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