Thanksgiving is a time to get together with your loved ones, count your blessings for the good things in your life, and — of course — eat until you have to loosen your waistband.
The big meal is a centerpiece of Thanksgiving, a chance to pile the dining room table high with delicious food and share in the bounty. And as the benefits of locally sourced food become more well-known, there has been an increasing demand for farm fresh food to bring to the holiday table.
You can put CT Grown on your plate for every course of the Thanksgiving feast, from the main course to that extra slice of pie. Check out these recommendations for how to include CT Grown foods at this year’s get-together.
More than 100 farms in Connecticut raise turkeys. These farms take pre-orders to prepare for the holiday and manage demand, so reserving your bird early is a good strategy.
When preparing a farm fresh turkey, be aware that it tends to be ready sooner than a store-bought turkey. That’s because a farm fresh turkey has a higher moisture content, allowing it to roast faster — and giving an unbeatable, succulent taste!
Roast for about 12 to 15 minutes per pound at 325 degrees. Monitor the turkey carefully, and check regularly about an hour before you expect that it will be finished. The turkey will be done when its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Looking for a turkey alternative this year? Farms raising turkeys often have other poultry as well, such as chickens, geese, and ducks. You could even take home a few different birds to try your hand at a turducken!
There are countless recipes for stuffing, so there’s plenty of room for creativity when it comes to this particular dish. Whether you’re using a cookbook recipe or one passed down through the generations, you can find plenty of the necessary ingredients at CT Grown farms. Some common options include sausage, mushrooms, onions, carrots, garlic, herbs, or apples.
Potatoes are easy to grow and produce a bountiful harvest, so many CT Grown farms dedicate some of their land to this crop. Use some locally grown potatoes for the traditional favorite of mashed potatoes, or try a unique option like scalloped potatoes, potatoes au gratin, or a potato bake mixed with local vegetables.
Potato sides are often prepared with dairy products like milk, butter, or cheese. Choose products from one of Connecticut’s family dairy farms when purchasing these ingredients!
Sweet potatoes are always a hit at Thanksgiving dinner, but don’t overlook the many varieties of winter squash grown in Connecticut. Check out options like acorn, butternut, delicata, and spaghetti squash to try something new.
Plenty of greens are still in season, including green beans and Brussels sprouts. You can also find leafy greens, cucumbers, and tomatoes for a CT Grown side salad.
CT Grown farms can also be a good source of ingredients for dishes like Relleno de pavo, a sweet and savory stuffing made with ground meat, chorizo, bacon, apple, raisins, and more.
Cranberries are a very minor crop in Connecticut. However, there is one commercial-scale cranberry bog operating in Killingworth and selling the resulting products locally.
If you want a local alternative — or supplement — to the traditional cranberry sauce, consider putting together some homemade applesauce. It’s a great way to use up some of the apples you get from an orchard!
Connecticut is home to more than 45 farm wineries, all offering delicious and unique vintages to pair with your Thanksgiving dinner. Have at least three options available for your guests: a white or rosé as a starter, a light- or medium-bodied wine for the main course, and a sweeter option like Riesling or port to go with dessert.
Prepare a few seasonal goodies in advance, and you’ll have some delicious desserts to enjoy once you’ve had a moment to digest. Visit an orchard to choose your own selection of apples to bake into scrumptious apple pie, bars, fritters, and other treats. And, if you are short on time, many offer “grab and go” prepared pies or other baked goods.
Connecticut’s dairy farms are a good source for dessert ingredients as well. Look for locally sourced cheese, ice cream, or whipped cream for a pie topping.
Last but not least, pick CT Grown for the floral arrangements you’ll have at the dinner table. Flowers are a major part of Connecticut agriculture, with the state ranking 9th in the nation in total greenhouse and nursery sales. Locally sourced flowers are easy to find at a Connecticut greenhouse, nursery, or garden center.
Look for flowers in yellow, orange, and red to evoke and celebrate the fall season. Some options include carnations, daisies, mums, roses, and sunflowers.