Prep for a Local Thanksgiving

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just a little over 3 weeks away. Often Thanksgiving is met with last minute shopping and a lot of stress, and is far from being a conscious event. So I thought I would write a post about how to make a conscious effort this year to have a majority of your dishes sourced locally. This takes a little forethought, but is well worth it.

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  • PURCHASE YOUR TURKEY LOCALLY – this is probably the easiest thing to do if you think ahead. Most farms require you to pre-order your turkey and have several scheduled delivery days and locations available.
  • MENU – find your local “seasonal produce” chart and find out what local veggies are in season. Chances are you can at least source green beans, greens, potatoes, carrots, and winter squash. Build a menu around what is available.
  • SHOPPING LIST – create a shopping list that includes all the ingredients you need to tackle your meal. Plan ahead and write local next to the items you are confident you can source locally. Begin seeking those items out, and even prepping them ahead of time. (Example: pumpkin puree for pumpkin pie made with local pumpkins can be prepared and frozen weeks in advance)
  • VISIT YOUR LOCAL FARMERS MARKET – some Farmers’ Markets have closed up for the season, but many are year round. I know that in Nashville we have several year round, and then some offer a special Thanksgiving Market for one day.  This is the best one-stop shop to get what you need.
  • PRE-ORDER LOCAL DESSERTS – along with a local turkey, this is the easiest to plan ahead for. Many bakeries offer delicious desserts (such as pies, cookies and cakes) and even better when they offer them with local ingredients. Chat with your Farmers Market dessert vendors first to find out if they offer pre-order and delivery at your Market.
  • CATERED MEALS – for most of us, Thanksgiving is about spending the day in the kitchen (or sitting in front of the tv) – but sometimes it’s nice to get a little help. Several caterers offer local dishes for the holiday. This is also a pre-order convenience, and many of your local chefs will source their items locally (but make sure to ask). Even if you don’t want everything catered, think about opting for 1 or 2 dishes.
  • THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX – try and be a little flexible this year and opt for fresh food rather than all casseroles. Instead of green bean casserole try local sauteed green beans or instead of sweet potato casserole try local roasted root vegetables. I promise, local food tastes better and won’t leave you feeling like you have to get in a few more gym sessions.