DEB’S DAY OUT – Picnic in the Park

by Deborah Rogers | photo by Janis Jean Photography –

It’s been a year when I’ve seen very few people except my little family of four. Having spent far more time together than usual, I wasn’t sure how my offer for them to join me for my Day Out this month would be received. But there was a promise of food, and assurance of minimal photos, and a date was set for a Saturday picnic.

It’s something we used to do very often when the children were younger; picnics on beaches and at parks were routine, and food choices made based on what was in the fridge and who was being picky about what at the time! With toddlers it was never about the food, always about the location. As we’ve got older I’ve been less inclined to bother with the work of packing up lunches for outings. For this Seaside Magazine picnic I was thrilled to relinquish responsibility to the Vancouver Island Picnic Company, trying their Picnic to-go option.

I ordered ahead, two 2-person baskets – no meat please – and was able to collect on the Saturday morning. It gave me the chance to have a chat with owner Alana. She started the business a year ago, focusing on picnic experiences, the sort of thing you might arrange for a special celebration. Now she’s added the “to-go” option so anyone can make a regular outing an occasion. Alana was inspired by the happiest memories from her childhood: picnicking with her family. Food is always an opportunity to bond, and food outdoors usually tastes better!

The picnics were very portable, packed in cardboard take-out boxes, which I resisted peeking into ahead of time. We chose Lillian Hoffer park in Sidney as our destination for its lovely green grass and water views. Picnic 101 – bring enough blankets for everyone to sit on! Yes, true, you could sit at a picnic table, or on a rock at the top of a mountain, but a picnic blanket on a grassy lawn is quintessential.

As we unpacked the boxes we discovered everything was locally produced, or purchased locally (like the cheese selection from The Farmer’s Daughter). I don’t want to spoil any potential picnics readers may have, but I can say that the food was delicious, varied, well-balanced and included things we hadn’t tried before, like the kombucha brewed in Vic West. One stand-out inclusion was dessert from the Fat Macaron, which has been mentioned more than once since our outing! There were nice touches too, like compostable cutlery, a welcome card with the vendor list (in case you need to get some more of those macarons!) and a suggested playlist. The picnic basket also included some conversation starter questions which we had a lot of fun with.

When someone else is responsible for the food it takes away the pressure of pleasing everyone. I’m probably not alone in having felt the weight of expectation fall heavily on my shoulders when I suggest a family activity. This was great though, a low-key treat; a chance to connect and catch up on each other’s week; and some precious time away from distractions. Oh, and no clean up! The sun was out, the food was great, the company seemed much more conversational than they are at home. All in all I’d say it was a perfectly, pleasurable picnic experience!

What do you want to see Deb do next? Email with your ideas or an invitation!

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