Show off autumn's best produce with a show-stopping, textural arrangement for the holiday.

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 three easy steps from floral designer Kory Garvis of Springvale Floral.

Decide on your overall concept.

When planning your centerpiece, consider three main factors: size, color, and overall aesthetic, which all "depend on your vision," says Garvis. "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?" Both of those can also be determined by your own taste and your holiday décor: "Choose an aesthetic to match your personal style and home," says Garvis. "Are you more modern and minimalist or classic and traditional?"

Pick your fruits and vegetables.

Opt for a mix of autumn produce in a variety of shapes and colors—red-and-green apples, purple plums, green or yellow pears, golden quince, jewel-toned figs, sunny starfruit (but choose underripe servings of juicy fruits to extend your centerpiece's life). Sculptural leafy greens, variegated gourds, bright pumpkins, rainbow chard, and globes of radishes and turnips provide seasonal textures and tones that contrast with more delicate fruits. Garvis suggests two favorites: "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. "And squash—with all the different types and shapes and colors, these add a fun element to the tablescape. 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."

baskets table setting for Thanksgiving
Credit: Linda Pugliese

Build your centerpiece.

"When designing, use color to create lines in your arrangements," says Garvis. "This will create a flow for your eye line, which induces intrigue and rest." Put your centerpiece together the day before the party—leaving 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 start to put your centerpiece together, says Garvis, "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." Using thick gauge floral wire to secure fruits or vegetables to the base of an arrangement adds stability, but a more casual arrangement also works with the festive atmosphere: "I would create clusters of your chosen fruits and vegetables down the length of the table to create a full harvest aesthetic," says Garvis. "Larger centerpiece with less effort—who doesn't love that?"


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