A Guide to Sourcing Your Local Thanksgiving Feast
See our 2013 guide for sourcing local and Heritage turkeys
Thanksgiving is a wonderful harvest feast and there’s no better way to honor the spirit of the holiday than celebrating with locally grown and made foods. We are very fortunate here in Connecticut to be able to create a delicious Thanksgiving meal from 100% CT Grown products. Our farms, farmers’ markets, independent grocers and online farm-to-door delivery service CT Farm Fresh Express (CTFFE) make it possible.
Where to buy a locally grown turkey
Locally grown turkeys are highly coveted and in short supply, so anyone looking for a local turkey from a nearby farm should place their order immediately. Fresh and frozen broad-breasted whites and Heritage turkeys are available for purchase directly from the farmer, but lucky for consumers, you don’t have to go to the farm to pick it up. Important: You must place a special order for your turkey with the farm since under CT law the turkey must be custom processed just for you. If you order a turkey and don’t pick it up, the farmer is forbidden from reselling it to another customer.
1) Greyledge Farm in Roxbury, well-known for their grass fed beef, is selling fresh (not frozen) pasture-raised, broad breasted white turkeys for pick up exclusively at the Darien farmer’s market on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The turkeys range from 16-25 pounds in size and cost $7.50 per pound. To place an order, please call 860-350-3203 or email the farm at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also place an order in person with Greyledge at the Westport and Darien farmers’ markets. Only 60 turkeys were raised this year.
2) Connecticut Farm Fresh Express (CTFFE), the online seller of exclusively CT Grown foods, is selling fresh turkeys from Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm and frozen Heritage turkeys from USDA Certified Organic Old Maid’s Farm for home delivery by their drivers. All the turkeys are free-range and raised without growth stimulants or hormones. They are all pasture-raised, which means that the majority of their diet has been grass and bugs; they are grain fed as a supplement only.
Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm in Moosup is the largest grower of free-range, pasture-raised turkeys in the state and this year they have 2,000 broad-breasted whites ranging in size from 12 to almost 40 pounds available for $4.25 per pound. If you don’t live near the farm, download the order form to place your order with CTFEE for home delivery on November 23 or 24, depending on their routes. If you order a turkey and also place a CTFFE order for other items from their store, they will deliver to you on Wednesday, November 24. Everything from potatoes, squash and leafy greens to cheese, pies, and bread can be found in their online store.
If you are interested in a free-range Heritage turkey, USDA Certified Organic Old Maid’s Farm in S. Glastonbury has a total of 40 Black Spanish, Bronze and Slates available for $7.50 per pound. These rare and special turkeys were raised from eggs that farmer George Purtill’s turkeys laid last fall. Heritage turkeys have been passed down from generation to generation because they taste good, and eating them helps preserve genetic diversity and restore America’s food traditions. To order one of these turkeys, download an order form and send it with your deposit to CTFFE for delivery on the Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving. They are frozen and must be defrosted in the refrigerator.
Please cook your turkeys according to instructions for the breed you buy. The rule is low and slow for fresh free-range and Heritage breeds. Deb Marsden, owner of CT Farm Fresh Express, recommends brining free range and Heritage turkeys. Click here to download the brining recipe..
3) Farmer’s Table in New Canaan is a unique farm-to-table restaurant because it also has a farmer’s market inside featuring seasonal produce and artisan products from local farms. Chef/owner Robert Ubaldo’s brother John is famous for the flavorful, Berkshire pork and other artisan meat products produced on his beyond organic farm, John Boy’s Farm in Cambridge, NY.
John is featured as one of the best farmers in the country in the just released cookbook Harvest to Heat: Cooking with America’s Best Chefs, Farmers and Artisans . John also raises free range, broad-breasted white turkeys that are available this Thanksgiving for $4.25 per pound, but there aren’t many. To place a turkey order email email@example.com right away and plan to pick it up at Farmer’s Table, 21 Forest Street in New Canaan on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Farmer’s Table is now taking pumpkin, pecan, blueberry, cherry, and apple pie plus cheesecake and flourless chocolate cake orders by phone at 203-594-7890. All desserts are house made with organic flour and all natural ingredients.
If you are traveling for Thanksgiving, local food that travels well makes a wonderful hostess gift. My top picks are beautifully packaged, yet affordable, premium wine and honey. First Blush is a unique apple, pear and black currant fruit wine from Jones Winery in the White Hills of Shelton that’s great sipped or used to poach seasonal fruit. Jones Winery is the recipient of Connecticut Magazine’s 2010 “Best Wine in Connecticut” award and their tasting room is open during the holiday season.
This just released handmade, 100% beeswax candle, lavender lip balm, and pumpkin blossom honey gift set from Red Bee Honey in Weston is a tasteful, and tasty, way to thank your host. Red Bee Honey is found in fine restaurants and cheese shops in Connecticut and beyond. Visit Red Bee’s online gift shop for other unique holiday gift ideas.