Hosting a memorable Fourth of July barbecue is as easy as apple pie when your backyard is a tropical oasis, and the menu is in the creative hands of a highly seasoned chef.
Native Canadians Steve and Jane Jones have embraced this all-American holiday—and many more—since acquiring their riverfront estate in the member-owned Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club, a private barrier-island community spanning 600 acres between the Atlantic Ocean and Indian River Lagoon. Purchased in March 2020, their 6,200-square-foot British West Indies–style residence has an outdoor living area rivaling that of a premier resort.
“It’s one of those backyards that’s so unique,” says Steve about the dramatic freeform pool, meandering paths, cabana, private dock, lush vegetation, and expansive loggia for alfresco dining. “When we bought the house, we reached out to the gardener, who had worked with the owner 17 years ago to recreate her vision of Hawaii. He continues to look after the grounds, and it’s kind of a wonderland.” A wonderland well deserved after decades of hard work, including an 18-year career at Coca-Cola Co. and the founding of Fairlife LLC, a health-and-wellness company that produces premium high-protein, ultrafiltered milk products.
Life at Coke was fast-paced and dynamic, Steve admits, as he assumed marketing and operational roles in Atlanta, London, Tokyo, and Houston, before his final job as corporate chief marketing officer. At 46, he wanted more entrepreneurial challenges. This wish led to several private equity deals and, ultimately, the launch of Fairlife, an experience he describes as the most rewarding of his business life.
By 2018, the Joneses were ready for a simpler but equally engaging life in Florida. They didn’t know the Sunshine State very well, so they spent the next two years exploring towns and communities, only to discover that life at Orchid Island checked all the boxes.
“You can’t beat living here,” says Steve. “It offers both ocean and Intracoastal living and a small but engaging community nestled around a great Arnold Palmer golf course. Add in excellent racket sports, a fitness and wellness center, clubs and activities, and wonderful food and dining experiences, and it’s second to none.”
In 2020, the Joneses decided a riverfront property at Orchid Island was a perfect fit for their active and social lifestyle. “The river is full of life,” says Steve. “Between the pleasure craft, the yachts, the birds, and the dolphins, there is nonstop entertainment out there.”
“The house is on the larger side, so it’s far livelier when people are here,” he adds. “We’ve had parties for 50 to 100 guests with half inside and half outside and many people walking to the dock to look at dolphins. It’s a very versatile property.”
For their Fourth of July celebration, the Joneses planned a more intimate backyard gathering with seasonal, locally sourced cuisine prepared by Orchid Island’s Executive Chef Chris Sozio as well as colorful cocktails and mocktails created by Food and Beverage Director Alex Heater.
The all-American menu includes a garden salad composed of locally sourced baby lettuce, pickled heirloom carrots, and sweet peppers from Pepper Trail Farm; pickled cucumbers and assorted heirloom tomatoes from Aunt Zorada Farm; preserved apricots; and goat cheese tartines—all tossed in a luscious green goddess dressing.
For the mains, Sozio fires up the outdoor grill to prepare Florida lobster tails and jumbo prawns with island spice butter and grilled lemons, prime bistro steak with citrus herb salsa, and chicken paillard with Donna’s corn relish.
For a light, no-fuss dessert, Sozio created a patriotic parfait of macerated strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries layered with vanilla bean and Orchid Island Honey–whipped cream cheese, presented with a gluten-free chocolate pecan cookie.
Sozio, who has been pleasing discerning palates at Orchid Island since 2014, says, “Our commitment to using locally sourced products as often as possible even extends to an often-used sweetener. We have beehives on the property from which honey is extracted, bottled, and sold in our pro shops as Orchid Island Honey. It’s become a popular staple in our club’s kitchens and in the homes of many of our members.”
Good food, good friends, and a backyard with an expansive water view. Sounds like a recipe for a memorable Fourth of July as well as a happy retirement!
Citrus Chimichurri Salsa
Yields 2 cups
- 1/4 tsp. chili pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
- Zest from 1 lemon + segments from lemon
- Zest from 1 orange + segments from orange
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, tightly packed, rough chopped
- 1 tbsp. oregano, rough chopped
- 2 tbsp. mint, rough chopped
- 1 tbsp. cilantro, rough chopped
Mix all ingredients except parsley, oregano, mint, and cilantro. Just before serving, fold in the herbs and taste for final seasoning.
Firecracker Mango-Chile Mojito
- 2 oz. Bacardi Mango Chile Rum
- 1 oz. mango puree
- 2 lime quarter wedges
- 7 mint leaves
- 2 oz. lemon-lime soda
Muddle rum, mango puree, lime, and mint. Shake and pour over ice. Finish with lemon-lime soda.
Strawberry Basil Lemonade
- 3 oz. lemonade
- 2 oz. strawberry puree
- 2 lemon quarter wedges
- 5 basil leaves
- 2 oz. club soda
Muddle lemonade, strawberry puree, lemon wedges, and basil leaves. Shake and pour over ice. Finish with club soda.
Donna’s Corn Relish
Yields 6 cups
- 4 ears corn, cut off the cob
- 1/2 red bell pepper diced into small pieces
- 1/2 green bell peppers diced into small pieces
- 1/2 cup cabbage diced into small pieces
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
- 1/2 tsp. celery seed
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
In a pot, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Cool in refrigerator before serving.
Island Spice Butter
Yields 1 1/4 pounds
- 1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 tbsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. pepper
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 4 tbsp. sorrel
- 2 tbsp. tarragon
- 2 tbsp. thyme
- 2 tbsp. marjoram
- 2 tbsp. oregano
- 4 tbsp. parsley
- 2 tbsp. garlic
- 1 tbsp. shallots
- 2 tbsp. white wine
Place butter into a mixer. Add all remaining ingredients and mix with paddle until fully incorporated. Taste for final seasoning. Hold at room temperature for service. Refrigerate unused portion.
Green Goddess Dressing
Yields 1 quart
- 1 oz. lemon juice
- 1 oz. white wine vinegar
- 6 pieces of anchovy fillets, washed, dried, and minced
- 1 cup Italian parsley, minced
- 1/2 cup chives, minced
- 1/4 cup watercress, minced
- 1/8 cup tarragon, minced
- 1 oz. scallions, minced
- 2 cups fresh mayonnaise
- 1 cup sour cream
- Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
In a blender, add the lemon juice, vinegar, herbs, and anchovies. Puree until smooth. Add the mayonnaise and sour cream and blend until evenly distributed. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.