Thanksgiving is the penultimate holiday for food-lovers, with some of the most lovingly prepared and thoughtful food you’ll eat all year. We shop and plan and prepare to make Thanksgiving special each year, to share a sacred meal and create lasting memories with friends and family. This year, why not find make it even more special by having a 100-Mile Thanksgiving and locally sourcing as many holiday table foods as possible?
Let’s look at the some of the traditional items on the Thanksgiving menu: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts and pie.
Each year I order my free-range turkey from Wight’s Family Farm (WightsFreshTurkeys.com) located in West Haven, Utah. Their delicious birds typically sell out at least a week before the big day so don’t delay. They’re available for order fresh directly from the farm and at a few local stores in the Salt Lake Valley.
Normally, another option is to bid on a locally raised 4-H turkey. This year’s avian flu scare canceled the auction usually held the second week of November in Bothwell, Utah. However, birds will probably be available for direct purchase. If you are interested, contact Lyle Holmgren, the USU 4-H agent, at 435-695-2545.
If a non-traditional protein is more your style, check out Canyon Meadows Beef (CMRBeef.com) or Blue Tree Cattle (BlueTreeBeef.com) for a lovely roast or brisket. Locally raised chickens are somewhat difficult to find, due to myriad regulations under the Utah Department of Agriculture. Utah Natural Meat (www.utahnaturalmeat. com) is one of the only local sources.
If a no-meat holiday is your goal, find a farmer’s market blue hubbard, butternut or spaghetti squash for stuffing. You can make a traditional bread stuffing, or mix it up with apples, nuts, quinoa and onions.
Many farmers markets have closed for the season, but you can still find an amazing abundance of local produce at the few markets still open in November, including the Winter Market at Rio Grande Depot in Salt Lake City, Petersen Family Farm in Riverton and the Wasatch Front Winter Market at Wheeler Farm. (See UtahsOwn.gov.) You’ll find local potatoes for mashing, onions, carrots, and Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes (not yams, people). Many fresh herbs are likely to still be thriving even in the chillier weather, and can be used fresh to flavor your turkey and stuffing.
Let’s talk pie. Central Milling is an excellent resource for local flour, perfect for Thanksgiving pies, cookies and treats. This Logan operation has been supplying the best Utah bakeries with conventional and organic flour for years and now you can buy it for baking at home. They source much of their grain from the Intermountain region.
Local pumpkins abound—you can even use those left over from Halloween décor. Pies can be prepared ahead of time and frozen until needed. Apples are also plentiful now— Fuji, Braeburn, Granny Smith and more from Pyne Farms and Riley’s Orchards.
Let’s not forget about the abundance of local wines and beers that pair with our holiday meals. The Hive Winery crafts award-winning ciders, wines and brandy from local fruit and honey. Ruth Lewandowski Wines are another highly regarded favorite. Kiler Grove Winegrowers in Salt Lake handcrafts their Rhône-style wines from grapes grown on 15 acres near Paso Robles, California, but also makes wines from grapes taken from select Utah vineyards. Some of these wines are only available for purchase directly from their tasting rooms. Utah’s many breweries—Epic, Uinta, Squatters, Wasatch and more—also offer an impressive array of options. If you prefer an alcohol-free Thanksgiving table, try the lovely hand-pressed ciders from Riley Farm, Farnsworth Farms, or Zollingers Fruit Farm in Logan.
Lastly, it’s an unfortunate reality that Americans generally throw away about 40% of their total consumable food. This holiday season is a great time to curb your food waste and use every morsel. Boil your turkey carcass for stock to use in soups and stews over the coming months. Freeze leftover turkey for future dinners like a turkey pot pie or a hearty turkey noodle stew. Discover the bounty of Utah’s harvest this season with local turkey or some delicious local apples.
Consider your food miles and the environmental impact of your diet. Then use a 100-Mile Thanksgiving to educate your friends and family about the bountiful harvest Utah enjoys.
A few of our favorite local producers
You can find most of them at Salt Lake’s Winter Market at the Rio Grande Depot, 300 S. Rio Grande St. (opening November 7 and running alternate Saturdays till spring, 10am-2pm).
Petersen Family Farm: Fifth-generation farmer Luke Petersen grows and sells a variety of vegetables directly from his Farm Market Store in Riverton. He also offers educational classes and tours. PetersenFarm.com
Parker Farms: Located in Hooper, Parker Farms is a 140-year-old heritage farm growing pumpkins, squash, potatoes, onions, peppers and more. Alan and Jo Ann Parker, 801.540.0277
Zoe’s Natural Garden: Fresh herbs, squash, onions, beets, apples, potatoes and edible flowers from their farm in Layton. ZoeGarden.com
Pyne Apples: Perfect for pie, this Santaquin farm recently took first place in all seven apple categories at the Utah State Fair. They also took home the sweepstakes award. pynefarms.com
Earth First Eco-Farms: Kevin Nash works small parcels of land across the valley to grow heirloom varieties with organic practices. 801-783-7822
Asian and Heirlooms: Unique varieties of cucumbers, fresh herbs, carrots and more grown with all-natural methods in East Millcreek. 801-891-8944
Blue Spring Farm: Randy and Tamara grow potatoes, garlic, herbs, onions, carrots and more on their five-acre farm in Tremonton. 435-279-0563
Clifford Family Farms: Pastured pork, bacon, honey and cage-free eggs from Provo. cliffordfamilyfarm.com/
Riley’s Farm Fresh: Three generation orchard offering apples, peaches, and fresh-pressed cider. RileysFarmFresh.com
Wights Family Farm: Fresh all-natural turkeys raised by the Wight Family in West Haven. WightsFreshTurkeys.com
Salt Lake County Jail Garden: A 1.5-acre garden adjacent to the Salt Lake County Jail where approved prisoners perform all garden tasks, under the supervision of jail staff and horticulturists. All crops are grown from heirloom seeds and are chemical free. 801-974-7700
Blue Tree Cattle: A family owned and operated ranch in Bluebell offering high quality, locally grown, grass fed beef. BlueTreeBeef.com
Canyon Meadows Ranch: A family operated cattle ranch located near Altamont offering grass-fed beef. CMRBeef.com
Beltex Meats: Beltex Meats, soon to open a retail shop near Liberty Park, is a specialty butcher chop utilizing locally sourced pork, beef, lamb, and fowl. BeltexMeats.com
Epicurean Chefs: Sells fresh cultured butter, buttermilk, duck fat, duck breasts, and demi-glace at farmers markets and by custom order.
Heber Valley Cheese: This fourth-generation dairy farm makes artisan cheese from grass-fed cows.
Drake Family Farms: Offering goat cheeses, goat milk yogurt and much more, Drake Family Farms originated in West Jordan in 1880 and is a designated historic Utah Century Farm. DrakeFamilyFarms.com
Beehive Cheese: Based in Uintah, featuring handmade award-winning cheeses. BeehiveCheese.com
Crumb Bros.: Artisan organic breads from Logan. CrumbBrothers.com
Amour Spreads: Artisan preserves handcrafted from seasonally fresh fruit. AmourSpreads.com
Laziz Spreads: Salt Lake City company featuring Middle Eastern spreads to dress your appetizer table. Laziz-Foods.com.
Alison Einerson manages Salt Lake’s Winter Market at the Rio Grande, teaches canning and food preservation and spends the rest of her time in the garden, the kitchen or the wilderness.