Whether tailgating at the Santa Fe Opera, listening to music at the park, sitting by the Rio Grande or on a mountaintop, a picnic is the perfect way to enjoy New Mexico’s balmy summer evenings. Summer is all about enjoying the outdoors, and packing a picnic gives us an excuse to linger in an especially beautiful spot. Here are a few simple, fun and portable recipes centered around our fabulous local fruits and veggies that make a great outdoor meal. You can prepare everything ahead of time, bring all the components in separate containers and assemble each dish when you’re ready to eat. For a zero-waste picnic, bring your own reusable plates, cups, silverware and cloth napkins. Bamboo plates are reusable and biodegradable, a smart option, and you can also buy compostable cups and silverware made from corn or potato starch. A classic picnic basket is pretty, but a cooler is more practical. Lots of stylish insulated picnic totes and backpacks are available this season, and many come already packed with lightweight reusable accessories.
No picnic is complete without a watermelon – although you could experiment with other fruits for this Agua Fresca: Pineapples, peaches—even cucumbers make tasty and refreshing substitutions.
1 mini-watermelon or half of a large watermelon, seeded and diced (about 3 cups)
1 1/2 C. water
1/2 C. sugar, plus more to taste
Juice of 2 or 3 limes
Pinch of salt
Puree chosen fruit in a food processor or blender. If you prefer to remove the pulp, pour through a strainer. Add water, sugar, lime juice and salt. Chill thoroughly and pack in a glass bottle on ice or fill your Thermos.