Seats Still Available at the Naked Table Luncheon

By Sally Miller

It’s Naked Table time. If you have not participated in this annual summer celebration before, now is your opportunity! We still have seats available for the luncheon in the Middle Covered Bridge.

The Shackleton Thomas workshop of Bridgewater has produced the Naked Table project every August since 2009. Participants in this unique program fashion beautiful wooden tables under the guidance of expert furniture makers, using locally and sustainably harvested timber. The group then celebrates, with family, friends and the community at an exquisite luncheon on Woodstock’s covered bridge; they dine on the tables they have made, and then take them home.

Charlie Shackleton designed the Naked Table program to give people an unforgettable experience of sustainable craftsmanship. The furniture is “naked of ego, stripped to its bare essentials, made in the most simplistic and time-tested manner.” The tables, while beautiful and useful in themselves, also serve as a vehicle for teaching a more sustainable lifestyle and for bringing people together. Participants learn about low-impact forestry by taking a tour of the woods where their table’s raw material was harvested. Each piece is finished using Vermont Natural Coating’s whey-based finish, so the tables are completely non-toxic with the most minimal environmental impact.

The finished tables are set up as one long table on the Middle Covered Bridge in Woodstock, bedecked with flowers, for a wonderful meal prepared by Woodstock Farmers Market. The three-course meal is made entirely from locally sourced ingredients. The community can then join folks who have just completed making their beautiful tables in celebrating their work by being the first to dine at their tables.

This year’s lunch menu includes a cucumber and watermelon tonic with crushed mint and honey, a raw summer vegetable salad with patty pan squash, carrots, cauliflower, horseradish, white balsamic vinaigrette, four hour braised beef short ribs, corn puree, braised rainbow chard, roasted devil tomatoes, crispy potatoes, shallot au jus, chocolate strawberry shortcake with mascarpone mouse, candy crunch and mint.

Local volunteers help serve the dishes, while diners enjoy music from a local bagpiper. Also at the table are the people who played a part in the creation of the tables from the forester who located the trees to the carpenter who milled the table pieces.

Each year a keynote speaker is invited to discuss topics about the environment, conservation, or sustainability. This year’s speaker is Gus Speth. As a United States environmental lawyer and advocate, Speth has been a leader or participant in many task forces and committees aimed at combating environmental degradation, including the President’s Task Force on Global Resources and Environment; the Western Hemisphere Dialogue on Environment and Development; and the National Commission on the Environment.

The luncheon provides a wonderful opportunity for the table makers to share the pride of craftsmanship with the community. All area residents are invited to join them and their friends and family as all the tables are laid out inside the covered bridge. This project is a prime example of individuals, businesses and organizations collaborating to build a more engaged, connected and resilient community. It is a multifaceted Vermont experience, combining craftsmanship, sustainability, community, and iconic New England scenery.

This year, the Naked Table Locavore Lunch will be held on Sunday, August 21 at 12:30 p.m. Proceeds from the lunch benefit Sustainable Woodstock. Tickets are $65/person and can be purchased directly at our website, sustainablewoodstock.org. (Go to the page “Donate or Buy Tickets.”) Or call our office at 457-2911.

Meanwhile, you can also connect with Sustainable Woodstock at this Saturday’s Taste of Woodstock event in the heart of the village. We will have a booth among the many food vendors and other businesses and organizations participating in this community festival. Stop by and talk with us about options for weatherizing your home, producing solar power, or recycling more effectively. We’ll also be happy to update you on the latest developments at the East End Park and tell you about our community gardens.

Just Do One Thing – Join us for the Naked Table Lunch

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