Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and what a better time to reflect on how thankful we all are for our farmers, putting in long hours, hard labor, and their resources to give us amazing and delicious food. It’s important to remember our farmers and be thankful for all they do to reduce food insecurity, but let’s take it another step this year by actually supporting our farmers this season and purchasing ingredients for the big feast locally. Not only will your side and main dishes taste extra delicious with this local produce, but you’d be helping a farmer and their family also have a bountiful Thanksgiving as well.
Use these Thanksgiving tips to source your feast locally:
- Plan ahead – decide on the recipes you’ll make this season and make your list! That way, when you have opportunities to source local, you’re ready!
- Purchase a local, farm-raised turkey – In Champaign, we’re lucky that Common Ground Food Co-Op and Harvest Market source turkeys locally, but there are plenty of other farmers that sell turkeys during the holidays. Contact local organizations that work with farmers, search farmers’ market farmers or do a local Google search to see if you can buy your bird locally
- Find a winter farmers’ market – If you’re community has a winter market, that’s a perfect place to source your Thanksgiving supplies. If your community doesn’t have one, check with local farms to see if they have on-farm hours available to source products.
- Plan side dishes that focus on what is in season – brussel sprouts, chard, broccoli, cauliflower, squashes, sweet potatoes, and so many more wonderful veggies are all in season. Create your menu around foods that are in-season to guarantee you’ll find the ingredients you need locally.
- Celebrate the harvest – Sharing your sourcing secrets helps your Thanksgiving guests think locally too! Make sure to mention the farms where your food came from and thank your local farmer for the delicious food you’ll eat that day.
Here are some other tips to have a sustainable Thanksgiving!
- Reduce waste by using reusable pots, pans, and dishes. If you need to use a disposable dish, make sure it is recyclable after use, washing it out before placing it in the recycling bin
- Use a cloth tablecloth, cups, silverware, plates and napkins rather than reusable ware
- Compost food scraps and leftovers that are uneaten – make sure to plan your dishes so no food goes to waste!
- Decorate with local flowers and berries – or just clip some branches from your yard as decor! Remeber to compost them once you’re done with your decorations.
- Use a natural air spritzer for the house – simmer a few cinnamon sticks and allspice in a pot, add essential oils to increase the essence even more!
And finally – no Thanksgiving blog can end without a recipe! This was a recipe created by Alisa DeMarco, a local chef, formerly with Prairie Fruits Farm, and it is sure to win any Thanksgiving crowd over as a pre-meal appetizer or side dish! Serve with your favorite, locally baked bread: