DIY: 25 Mile Thanksgiving
Roots are important to consider as the Thanksgiving feast approaches – traditional roots, root vegetables, familial roots and local New England ground roots that supply the hearty dinner items on our Thanksgiving shopping lists. The food-based holiday originated from the early pilgrims’ celebration of the year’s good harvest and the custom has continued since, bringing family and friends together over a bountiful meal. Although the name of the fourth Thursday in November hasn’t changed, the food has, moving from fresh and local to processed and packaged. This fall, tradition challenges you to practice being a locavore by obtaining the pieces for your Thanksgiving dishes within a 25-mile radius of your table.
New England has a vast and lush landscape for fall harvest. Utilizing its great abundance of regional fare is an excellent way to collect your Thanksgiving edibles and not only makes good use of the copious offerings from local harvest, but also gets your hands a bit dirty in true cooking fashion and will refresh your Thanksgiving spread from aroma, to presentation, to taste. Purchasing local harvest also decreases our carbon footprint and affords us the opportunity to better know our community. There are many ways to re-imagine holiday staples with a regional twist.
Instead of purchasing a turkey that was factory raised according to vague practices and furtive chemicals, locally farm-raised turkeys and vegetables contain fewer pesticides, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), growth hormones, and tend to use safer animal husbandry practices. Mashed potatoes out of a box can be replaced with a combination of locally grown roasted Adirondack red potatoes, Yukon nugget potatoes, tri-color carrots, and parsnip with herbs; sweet potato casserole becomes butternut squash bread pudding; packaged dinner rolls can be substituted for soft and warm buttermilk biscuits; boxed chocolate mousse pie can be swapped out for the locally grown ingredients of a pumpkin or apple pie. And when it’s time to drink and be merry, don’t forget about locally produced wine and New England craft beer!
When seeking to create the whole Thanksgiving meal from neighboring sources,you will find a wealth of opportunities. Supporting regional food systems not only helps support sustainably run farms, it is also great for our own health and the relationships we forge within our communities to stimulate the economy. This November, give thanks for great tasting food and dedicated farmers who cultivate our lands so that when we gather with our friends and families on Thanksgiving we can truly feel rooted in all that is the Seacoast. Your guests and your community will thank you! The Seacoast is a cornucopia of places that source delicious fresh produce or prepared food items everyday:
-Heron Pond Farm in South Hampton boasts a host of fresh veggies for Thanksgiving dinner. You can check on their website for some tasty recipes to go along with their fresh and in-season produce.
Fall Harvest Weekend for Winter and Holiday Feasts at the Stout Oak Farm Store on November 14 & 15, 10am-3pm. Visit stoutoakfarm.com for more information.
-Three Brothers Marketplace in Exeter offers local and seasonal prepared foods and catering for your holiday table. Call them for more details at (603) 583-5975.
-Tendercrop Farm in Dover dishes up prepared items like broccoli salads,soups, jams, jellies and a hearty selection of fresh bread items.
-Philbrick’s Fresh Market located both in Portsmouth and North Hampton is another great choice that serves as a year-round farmers’ market. They offer prepared organic side dishes like cranberry butternut squash, or green beans with garlic olive oil and shaved almonds.
-For the star of the meal, Kellie Brook Farm of Greenland provides consumers the ability to reserve their gobble ahead of time. They sell many other meat items like holiday ham that can also be reserved ahead of time by calling (603) 702-0342.