How to Design and Create a Harvest-Inspired Thanksgiving Centerpiece Using Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables
Thanksgiving is all about the food, which is why using in-season produce in your centerpiece is an easy and colorful way to illustrate the harvest concept. Design a collection that fits your table setting, for the holiday or the overarching time of year, with these easy steps from floral designer Kory Garvis of Springvale Floral.
Think About Your Personal Style
When planning your centerpiece, consider three main factors: size, color, and overall aesthetic, which Garvis says all depends on your vision. "For size, consider where it is going, and if it will be among many other dishes or the focal point on a table," she says. "For color, think through what you're planning to serve as well as the servingware you will be using—do you like a contrast, or do you prefer to keep to a muted color theme?"
These factors can also be determined by your own taste and holiday décor: "Choose an aesthetic to match your personal style and home," says Garvis. "Are you more modern and minimalist or classic and traditional?"
Choose Your Ingredients
Opt for a mix of autumn produce in a variety of shapes and colors when looking for fruits and vegetables to fill your harvest centerpiece with.
From red-and-green apples and purple plums to golden quince and jewel-toned figs, fruit will provide all the inspiration you need to get started. Choose underripe servings of juicy fruits to extend your centerpiece's life. Garvis likes pomegranates: "They're so full and vibrant. Also, since they're only available for a short part of the year they draw an air of nostalgia for a lot of people that apples don't offer," she says.
Sculptural leafy greens, variegated gourds, bright pumpkins, rainbow chard, and globes of radishes and turnips provide seasonal textures and tones that contrast with delicate fruits. For vegetables, Garvis recommends leaning into one vegetable in particular: "Squash—with all the different types and shapes and colors, these add a fun element to the tablescape," she says. "Bonus: If you cut from the farm and keep the vine attached, you have an added element that will be amazing in your final product."
Build Your Centerpiece
Once you have gathered your fruits and vegetables, it's time to use them to create something beautiful. Garvis recommends using color to make lines in your arrangements, which will create a flow for your eye line and induces intrigue. "I would create clusters of your chosen fruits and vegetables down the length of the table to create a full harvest aesthetic," she says.
Put your centerpiece together the day before the party, which will leave yourself time to fix anything that doesn't work. "To keep it fresh, keep it out of direct sun and heat, and mist the fruits and vegetables with lemon water—as you would apple slices—to keep them from browning," says Garvis.
As you put your centerpiece together, Garvis says a big thing to consider is weight and balance. "Fruit and vegetables can be much heavier than florals, so you will have to have a sturdy base to support the weight of, say, pomegranates or squash," she says. Using thick gauge floral wire to secure fruits or vegetables to the base of an arrangement adds stability, but a more casual arrangement works with the festive atmosphere, too.