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Monday, November 5, 2007

Eat Local for Thanksgiving

It's not too late to start thinking about your Thanksgiving meal and how to make it as sustainable as possible. The most effective thing to do is to focus on providing foods that are in season, local and organic.

You've already heard me blathering on (and on) about the reasons for eating locally, but here's a reminder: On average, for each plate of food obtained locally, 2.2 pounds of CO2 emissions are prevented. (This is from a University of WA study, so I'm not sure how it extrapolates out to other areas of the country.)

So, in another effort to encourage you to do more, you can pledge to Eat Local for Thanksgiving by adding a comment to this post. In your pledge you can state what you are planning to do, whether that be acquiring a local turkey to getting all your vegetables at a farmer's market, etc. It's totally up to you. The point is to think about where each food source comes from and buy it locally or don't serve it if it's out of season or has to travel miles to get to your plate.

Now, we all have our family favorites, and I'm sure Aunt Agnes might be upset when she doesn't see her favorite green bean casserole because the season is over in your neck of the woods and you neglected to can or freeze any. So, for those of you who want to take the opportunity during your Thanksgiving meal to discuss the issues surrounding food and where it comes from, the Puget Sound Fresh website has some printable discussion cards for your Thanksgiving table that may help you explain why certain things are missing.

Between now and Thanksgiving, I'll keep a running counter in the sidebar for the amount of CO2 emissions prevented based on the number of people pledging to eat local.*

Now go forth and choose local for Thanksgiving!

*This won't be extremely scientific, but I'll just assume one plate worth of savings for each pledge, unless you specify otherwise. In other words, if you know you'll be serving all local food to 10 people, I'll count that as 10 plates worth.

25 comments:

Burbanmom said...

Ha! This is great, in fact I just made out my Thanksgiving menu last night and decided I would have to kick the green bean casserole to the curb! I will be serving local / in-season / organic with the exception of corn. I forgot to freeze some this summer and am now kicking myself for it! The bird *may* be local, but will depend on dh's boss, as he always purchases turkeys for all the employees. I have 6 adults and 4 kids coming for the meal. Each kid will only eat 1/2 a plate (if that).

QT said...

I ordered my turkey from a local farmer about a month ago, so that is covered. Since they estimate the weight at 12 lbs, I am also making a fresh ham from the hog we bought earlier this year. The funny thing is, the only thing I will be making that won't be from my CSA or the farmer's market will be the green bean casserole!

I will be serving 13 people, two children, who as burbanmom pointed out, will maybe eat 1/2 plate.

AnandaDevika said...

I have a heirloom turkey reserved through our food co-op, and I made a sweet potato pie last week to freeze for the holiday. My mom brought me a homemade peach pie (also frozen) - she used local peaches from her part of the state... Also planning on local bread, a local pumpkin pie and whatever else I can find. Somethings won't be local, but I'm doing what I can!

Christy said...

I ordered my local turkey. I got sweet potato and pumpkin puree in the freezer, along with apple pie filling. So I know the turkey, dessert and bread will be local. Oh, and I've got corn in the freezer for the corn. We make a very non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner all from the William Sonoma Thanksgiving cookbook. I need to start checking the recipes and looking for ingredients now. We will have 3 adults and a child.

Green Bean said...

I'm going to MIL's house and she's in charge of the turkey. I'm bringing the soup, sweet potatoes, a vegetarian dish and a pumpkin pie. Everything I bring will be local from the Farmer's Market but the crust for the pie. It will serve 6 people - 2 of which are kids but they can take down a whole pumpkin pie in one sitting. :)

denise said...

That is our plan too.

We ordered a heritage turkey from our CSA a few months back - not frozen - yay! We'll get that in a few weeks. We have fall storage veggies from our last CSA box and our farmer's market - squash, rutabaga, potatoes, onions, celeriac, spinach, turnips, carrots, etc. And I grind flour from wheat grown locally for our breads/rolls. YUMMY. We get milk & butter weekly from a local farmer. And this month I have a new local chicken lady who will be providing us with our eggs.

We still have canned applesauce, apple butter, garlic, cabbage and jams we made earlier in the summer too.

We are going to have quite a feast!

Chile said...

We'll have more local than usual for our vegan Thanksgiving menu although there will be a small amount on non-local foods involved (such as cashews for the pie crust). Hopefully the CSA will come through with potatoes and sweet potatoes in time. There are green beans in the freezer. I'll use local wheat and maybe corn for the stuffing. We're skipping the grain-based Celebration Roast this year so I'm not sure what the centerpiece will be. I'm not a fan of the stuffed pumpkin dish...

stella said...

I'll try to do everything local (100 miles). I don't think the pie crust or rolls will be local b/c I don't know about local wheat. I will get these things locally made, though.

Anyone know of a good zingy fruit that can substitute cranberries? (and that is local in California?) I usually like to make a salad with raw cranberries and orange zest. Pumpkin, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and quiche (again, the pie crust) will be okay. My mom will make stuffing with local mushrooms and celery, but not local bread.

Melinda said...

My husband and I have a tradition of having an awesome vegan thanksgiving meal every year. This year we'll be apart :( as he stays home to work while I visit my grandfather and parents.

So, here's what I pledge: I'm bringing the veggies from my garden (squash, beans, carrots, kohlrabi, and beets). And, since they all eat meat and I don't, I'm making my own main course strictly local.

I'll try to convince my mom to buy a local turkey. She'll like the idea of ordering it ahead.

There are 5 of us total.

Burbanmom said...

CORN UPDATE! Ok, the whole "out of season corn" thing bothered me so I hit the farm stand today and can you believe they had husked, wrapped whole ears of local corn?!?!? I paid an arm and a leg for four ears, but we will have our local meal!!!!

Phelan said...

Since I read you regularly, I will give you the pledge. Though my thanksgiving as been 100% local for a few years now. We will have 17 people.

Phelan said...

oops, nevermind. I have decided to barter away local flour for people's local food stuff, like Emissions trading. So this year my dinner will not be 100% local.

Raw Vegan Mama said...

count me in! I already froze the corn and bought the squash for it! Out sweet potatoes and white potatoes will be local, as well as ou honey.

Our tokury will not be though! LOL!

kelley said...

we'll do our best! there will be just my husband and i, and it's my first thanksgiving...wish me luck. luckilly, my husband's only mandate is stuffing. that takes the pressure off, and i have local chestnuts just waiting for such an occasion

Anita said...

I can find nothing within 100 miles from my house but squash, flour,and honey... lol
Unless I want to buy a whole hog or a whole beef!! Yikes!! That would take years for us to go through...lol
No farmers markets, nothing grown locally but farm crops (wheat, corn, soybeans, milo, sunflowers, cotton)... The tornado destroyed our garden this year, or we would have been set... *sigh* Oh well, there's always next year!

Jennifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer said...

Stella~
What about pomegranate? I did a quick google search, and it looks like it's grown in California! I found a website for a farmer's market advertising a vendor that sells them in California. Pomegranates have a nice sour zest to them, I think.
They are certainly not local here in Colorado, but then again we have those WONDERFUL peaches, and some pretty good apples. I helped my in-laws slice and freeze two trees of apples and 1 tree of peaches a few weeks ago.

Jennifer said...

We will have a pumpkin pie from a farmer's market pumpkin, an apple pie from the tree in the back yard, and a vegetarian dish made of local apples and potatoes. That is of course, in addition to the (presumably) non-local food my in-laws will bring to the table, also.
Perhaps one or two plates total local?

girlosun_9 said...

We are going green for Thanksgiving and are stuggling with the 25 plus people we usually feed. Others are not respecting our wishes/willing to respect our choices and are not coming to our Thanksgiving :(

The good news is that we have been switching foods slowly in the hopes that all of our food would be local in about a year (we just started preserving our own foods a month ago so missed a chunk of important time as we don't grow much outdoors in the winter in Maine) so we have most everything that we need already preserved for veggies and fruit. Our local flour is on order. Our turkey is ordered. I will be making cheese and butter from local milk. The only things we have that won't be local is the sugar, salt, coffee, and yeast.

I wish it was all local but I think that is as good as we can do.

We are still having coffee daily and using up our old baking goods. I am having difficulty finding local relacements for some of them.

sue said...

Fabulous! Here's our plan -

Free-range biodynamic turkey puchased from one of the farmers who contributes to our CSA
pumpkin pie from an organic CSA pumpkin
broccoli purchased from a local farm
stuffing made from homemade bread made from local biodynamic wheat, local onins, and homemdae broth (in the freezer from last year's turkey)
we live in the northeast, so cranberries are relatively local to us
the things we're having trouble with finding locally are sweet potatoes and pecans for the pecan pie. hmmmm. we did buy the organic pecans at the coop, though, so maybe it's not so bad.

We'll have 6 adults and 7 kids...

katrina said...

ive been working on a local tanksgiving for about a month now! were getting a local turkey, and the vast majority of the fruits and veggies are going to be local, unfortunatly i caint find local wheat flour so the pies, for the most part wont, (except for the fruit fillings) but everything else will be!!!! this is such a grea idea, o and im feeding about 6 people
katrina

Patty said...

Great idea and I plan to rethink my menu a bit to include more from our own garden and then to shop locally which I try to do anyway.

stella said...

Jennifer--

Oh yeah! Duh! Pomegranates! They're all over the farmer's market and we buy a couple every week. Thanks for a perfect cranberry substitute suggestion. It's funny how it's hard to think of obvious substitutes when we're mired in traditional thinking!

Anonymous said...

I served a local, organic turkey and every other dish featured one or more local items including the mashed potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin pie, apple crisp, kale and brussel sprouts. The Eat Local for Thanksgiving challenge was wonderful and I think it is great how many people came forward to take the pledge, support local farms and send a strong message to our policymakers that food is an important issue they need to address.

Robj98168 said...

Well you know- I would have to be difficult. I am going to my Cousin's house for thanksgiving- they (my family) will probably be blitzed- and anything organic/local is met with suspicion

sooooooo....
We will have our won thanksgiving here with a local bird- probably chicken or a capon...potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, pumpkin pie from the pumpkins I grew!

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