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Want to paint the town red, white, and blue with a perfectly patriotic Fourth of July party? The Shops at Columbus Circle has everything you need to host a star-spangled celebration. We asked Alyson Valpone, Marketing Team Leader at Whole Foods Market Columbus Circle to share her favorite summer entertaining tips.

Top tip for throwing a Fourth of July party?

Make sure there is plenty of food to last several hours, as these types of gatherings typically start in the afternoon and go through the evening. Purchasing in-season produce is one way I like to do that. Another way is speaking with our skilled butchers and fishmongers to find out what’s at peak freshness.

What’s your advice for having a barbeque in the city?

In terms of urban BBQs, it’s all about convenience. Our stores offer pre-cut fruits and veggies, as well as in-house made guacamole. Or choose from our Summer Catering Menu, especially the Summer Party Packs, which offer all the BBQ favorites at a great value. If you’d rather have groceries delivered, you can also do your shopping online through Instacart. And for any outdoor activity, let’s not overlook sun safety. Our Whole Body department offers an array of sunscreens, hats, and sunglasses.

How about a picnic in Central Park?

For an event like a picnic, where you’re likely not going to be near a grill, I like to prepare dishes that are best served cold. For instance, a savory potato salad, cut-up watermelon, and a fresh crudité platter with a refreshing dip are all good options. If you’re meeting folks at the park, this is an opportunity to host an easy pot-luck that everyone can contribute to.

Any décor ideas?

You can’t go wrong with red, white, and blue. This is something that you can infuse through the food (e.g. artful arrangements of mixed berries), with a flower arrangement, or by using something as simple as an Independence Day-themed tablecloth.

What should we throw on the grill?

With handcrafted burger varieties — from ground beef to turkey to lamb, you can’t go wrong. And the ready-to-grill organic chicken is a great value. Summer grilling is easy and fun with Whole Foods Market’s array of expertly seasoned kebabs, churrasco, meatballs, kaftas, satays, and more. All of these skewered savories are prepared in-house and are total crowd pleasers.

Anything else we can grill?

Light and flavorful, whole grilled fish is also ideal for summer entertaining. If it’s a little intimidating, Whole Foods Market’s fishmongers can prepare and season the fish for you (free of charge), so it’s ready to hit the grill at home. Summer’s finest produce only gets better on the grill, and Whole Foods Market offers peak-season ingredients so the fresh flavors speak for themselves. Grilling intensifies the natural sweetness of seasonal favorites like summer squash, corn on the cob, peppers, and onions.

We’re hungry! What’s for dessert?

Whole Foods Market will be offering deals on pies throughout the month of July. For our New York City stores, a regular 9-inch apple pie will be selling for $7.99 (original retail value of $14.99) through July 5. And don’t forget about fruit. Slice stone-fruit — peaches, nectarines, apricots — and place them cut side down on the grill for an easy and delicious dessert.

How about some grown-up treats?

Whole Foods Market carries a number of seasonal craft ales from breweries around the area like Brooklyn Summer Ale. A great way to celebrate America is by celebrating its local craft producers!

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