October 17, 2013

Where does your Thanksgiving meal come from?

Loutet Farm

Here in Canada, we’ve already expressed our gratitude and enjoyed family meals together. If you’re south of the border, perhaps you’ll be inspired reading this.

I had the opportunity and pleasure to host and cook Thanksgiving dinner for my parents, at my own place, for the first time. (My sisters and their families stayed in their respective towns.) Naturally, I wanted the meal to be as local and organic as possible, since this is how I live, but it wasn’t until afterward that I thought to write about it.

This is the ultimate time of year to have a hearty, home-cooked meal full of delicious grub grown in your own backyard — literally or figuratively. My parents’ neighbourhood, however, doesn’t have good access to local, organic food, so I took care of all the veggies, procuring them at markets. This meant I missed out on Brussels sprouts, since they’re hard to find locally and a bit expensive. Ten years ago I never would have thought about growing them myself, let alone enjoying them.

I happen to live close to a small urban farm and bought the beets and squash there. (Mom said the beets were really sweet!) Parsnips, multi-coloured carrots, purple cauliflower (yes, purple!) and leftover beet greens were from Cropthorne Farm‘s bounty at the local farmers market. Garlic and rosemary were from my balcony and shared building gardens, respectively. (I do feel smug.) The best part may actually have been the roasted cauliflower, inspired by Nuba‘s “Najib’s special.” I’m still surprised I’m now taking seconds of cauliflower.

Dessert was a mostly-organic pumpkin pie I made with hazelnuts, Avalon whipped cream, and eggs, all from around here. The pumpkin was canned, from Oregon. (The one from the farm has to survive Hallowe’en first.) I’m so sad there’s none left now.

What’s growing in your yard, on your balcony or in your window box? What’s growing in your city? If you have the privilege of having space to grow your own food, I’m sure you’re as appreciative as I am of the goods our local farmers sell, and what they charge for them. Growing two heads of garlic takes about as long as growing a baby, but with less back pain.

Over dinner, I thanked Gavin from Loutet Farm and the ladies from Cropthorne Farm for the vegetables. Do you know who grew your food? Did you or will you thank them at Thanksgiving? I think I might just make it a habit.

Pie tip

If you’re making your own pumpkin puree, only use organic pumpkins, as conventional ones will have absorbed a lot of pesticides from the soil. Look for “pie pumpkins” at your local market or grocer.

Happy Thanksgiving.