3 Things to Consider When Using Fruit and Vegetables as Event Decor

Hey, friends. It’s been a while since we last posted. Cough, cough – two years and 5 months if anyone was counting. LOL. If you haven’t noticed yet, we have been making lots of changes, starting with our new website and this blog post! We are excited to be back in full force with you to share all things related to the magic we get to create everyday! Anyway, we are excited to talk about our unique take on eco-friendly decor that turned into tasty treats for our animal friends at the Lincoln Park Zoo. August 2018 began with some tasty treats for our 4-legged creature friends at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Whatever do we mean, you ask? Tina Carlson and her team at Ivan Carlson pitched the idea to their client to create a centerpiece that they can feed the animals after the event is over. “Brilliant!” said the client. “Let’s do it!” Here are the 3 things to consider when up-cycling fruit and vegetables in your event decor
From left to right: Sandy Summer, Bill Randell and Rich Wolfe of Ivan Carlson handling the fruits and vegetables at Lincoln Park Zoo.
  1. Select the Right Team
Not just any human being can handle food items to be eaten by our precious zoo animals. It is important to consider the safety of these animals in order to prevent foodborne illness. The Ivan Carlson Team were all certified to work with the animals, wore food handling uniforms that were laundered in a specific way and wore gloves when they were handling all the produce. In addition to being certified, we got to meet the Zoo Nutritionist which leads us to our next point…
  1. Work with Professionals
The Ivan Carlson team had a crash course in Zoo Nutrition 101. They got to meet with Kristine Schad, the nutritionist of Lincoln Park Zoo. “Taking care of the zoo’s animals involves designing diets to meet a variety of nutritional needs. The Lincoln Park Zoo Nutrition Center provides healthful meals for animals ranging from rhinos to Madagascar hissing cockroaches. The daily menu covers shanks of beef, strawberries and everything in-between. To ensure that animals’ meals are as sanitary as possible, Lincoln Park Zoo’s nutrition technicians follow a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) system. Color-coded knives and cutting boards are used to process the different types of food. Green boards and knives located at the south end of the food-prep area are dedicated to carrots, cauliflower, and other plant products, while carnivorous cuisine is prepared at the north end of the food-prep area using red (meat) and brown (fish) cutting boards and knives. This system helps prevent cross-contamination and the illness that could follow.” If you take a closer look in the pictures, you will see that the ICA team is working with the green cutting boards and green knives since they are dealing with plant products.
  1. Know Your Audience
The Lincoln Park Zoo staff work extremely hard to ensure the animals eat a well-balanced diet. It takes many (can we quantify) hours to prepare and deliver the special diets needed for each of the animals. It is important to consider that the animals get the proper amount of protein, fat, fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals for their individual daily needs. These are just one of those things that they everyday human doesn’t tend to think about – you know, the amount of hard work and effort that is involved in keeping our zoo friends fed. Wow! Thank you for taking care of these incredible creatures – definitely not an easy task! Here is the list of fruits and veggies that we used in the centerpieces: Dragon Fruit Jack Fruit Star Fruit Pomegranate Persimmons Baby South African Pineapple Kumquats Apples Red/Green Grapes Lemons Limes Tangerines Assorted Sweet Peppers Broccoli Baby Eggplant French Breakfast Radishes Cherry Tomatoes on the Vine Here is the list of animals that get to eat these centerpieces after the event: Alpacas Zebras Camels Goats Cows Pigs Fruit Bats Fennec Foxes Giraffes Polar Bears Hippos Given the constantly ever-evolving industry we live in – it is 100% vital for us to stay up-to-date with all the trends and happenings in this landscape. Lucky for us, we have a dream team of people that concept new ideas all the time. This is by far THE BEST part of what we get to do! You guys, this means that we get to come up with some of the wildest most outrageous ideas and see them through all the way through execution. It’s pure MAGIC! We had our Ivan Carlson team take a crash course in Food Safety, worked with zoo nutritionists and understood the needs of the zoo animals in order to make the perfect centerpiece that our creature friends could devour. This is one of the many ways an idea comes to life in the Ivan Carlson process. How can you upcycle your next event decor or centerpiece? Need some help, give us a ring!