4 Helpful Design Tips for Using Vegetables as Event Decor

To celebrate the new Farmacy Kitchen Cookbook, which hits stores today, event designers created a veggie-filled haven in West Hollywood.

By Claire Hoffman August 7, 2018, 7:01 AM EDT

“Color blocking is key” when using vegetables as decor, according to event producer and designer Cathy James. 

Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Farmacy Kitchen Cookbook

'Farmacy Kitchen Cookbook' Launch Party
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Colorful fruit has long been a refreshing way to decorate summer events. But event designers are increasingly turning to vegetables as decor as well, using asparagus, artichokes, carrots, and more as an alternative to traditional greenery and flowers. (A memorable step-and-repeat from last year's inaugural In Goop Health Summit, for example, featured living lettuce, radicchio, radish, broccoli, and more.)

Los Angeles-based event producer Cathy James, owner of the James Group, also adopted the vegetables-as-decor idea for the recent launch of Farmacy Kitchen Cookbook, a new book focused on plant-based eating and conscious living. Held on July 12 at the Schoos Design studio in West Hollywood, the evening event was co-hosted by author Camilla Fayed, stylist Elizabeth Saltzman, and Juicy Couture creative director Jamie Mizrahi.

Farmacy Kitchen Cookbook stresses the importance of using fresh, beautiful, locally sourced vegetables in all of their dishes, so we thought, ‘Why not incorporate vegetables throughout the entire event?’” explained James, who worked with interior designer Thomas Schoos to produce the event at his greenery-filled studio on Santa Monica Boulevard. “We wanted the design of the event to look as though you were entering a farmers market.”

Like with any event decor, the vegetable choice and placement had to be carefully thought through, said James, who shared some of her tips for designing an effective display.

1. Keep it fresh. “It was important to choose lively and colorful vegetables, with various shapes, that were aesthetically pleasing to the eye,” she noted. “Choose veggies that look vibrant and ready to eat.”

2. Pay attention to color. “Color blocking is key,” she continued. “When the vegetables are jumbled together, it can look as though it was thrown together last minute, no matter how much thought you may have put into it.”

3. Vary it up. “Use baskets and platters as a base to stack the vegetables and create a wide range of heights.”

4. The more the merrier. “When the vegetables are abundantly displayed, not only does the design stand out more, it looks much better overall.”

Farmacy Kitchen Cookbook hits stores August 7.

Click through the slide show to see inside the veggie-focused launch party.

Launch Slide Show

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