January 9 @ 8:00 AM 3:30 PM

This event is a valuable resource for local farmers who are seeking connections in the state as well as knowledge about local issues and opportunities. A trade show will be held throughout the conference, and 4 CEU pesticide recertification credits are available.

Registration is $40 before noon on December 20th, 2023 and $60 afterward. Registration for matriculated students with a valid ID is $30.

2110 Hillside Road
Storrs, Connecticut 06269 United States
+ Google Map

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!

Looking for different ways to use up Thanksgiving leftovers? Try turkey empanadas or a turkey tortilla soup served up with locally made cheese, chips, and salsa. 


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!

Side dishes

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. 

Cranberry sauce

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.

You can pick up a pumpkin to use for final courses like pie, cookies, cupcakes, or flan. Sweet potato pie also makes an excellent Thanksgiving dessert.


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. 

It’s time to take the “Kiss the Cook” apron out of hibernation, check your propane or charcoal supplies, and get ready for a season of barbecuing. The sizzle of food on the grates, the hearty flavors of grilled food, and the joy of cooking outdoors all come together for a truly enjoyable experience.

Whether you’re hosting a party or just making a meal for your family, Connecticut farmers and producers can supply you for your next cookout — and many more to come. Here’s how CT Grown can make for a tastier grilling experience.

CT Grown grilling meats

Connecticut farmers may specialize in a single type of livestock, or they may raise several types of animals. Check out the farms around you and you’ll find beef, chicken, pork, turkey, and lamb, all raised with the goal of producing high-quality meats.

You may be surprised to discover that Connecticut has some unconventional livestock producers as well. A handful of farms in the state raise bison and emu, which are touted as having lower fat than traditional meats.

Most livestock producers in Connecticut sell directly to the consumer, and they often have special promotions or services to cater to these customers. You may discover discounts on bulk purchases at the start of the summer, giving you an affordable way to stock up on a larger quantity of meat for the season, or giveaways and bonus products available with certain purchases. CT Grown farms may also offer delivery services to bring meat directly to your doorstep, or convenient pickup options at their farm store or a nearby farmers’ market. 

Meat has become a popular option in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, with many livestock producers either partnering with other farms or running their own program. CSAs allow you to purchase a share of the farm’s product in advance, then regularly pick up a selection of meats over the course of several weeks.

If you’re looking for more variety in your meals, check out the meat sampler boxes that many Connecticut farms have started to offer. These boxes contain different cuts such as roasts, steaks, burgers, and short ribs, allowing you to experiment with different recipes.

Ordering CT Grown meat in bulk

For grilling enthusiasts interested in purchasing more local meat, Patty Taylor of Devon Point Farm in North Stonington says the first thing you should do is get a good freezer. 

“When people invest in a freezer, they enable themselves to buy in bulk from local farmers,” she says. “They save money from all the driving to stores and paying increasing grocery store prices, and they get the convenience of walking to their basement or garage to make a dinner barbecuing selection.”

Unlike shopping at a grocery store, a visit to a local livestock farm allows you to order portions such as a whole, half, or quarter cow. Some portions will yield hundreds of pounds of meat — enough to keep you supplied through the grilling season and beyond. You can also take advantage of services like custom butchering to select your preferred cuts. 

To store such a large quantity of meat, Taylor recommends using heavy-duty milk crates or laundry baskets in a chest freezer so that cuts of meat can be easily organized and lifted out. She says upright freezers should have an organizational system that makes the best use of available space, such as boxes that fit on the shelves and have shallow cuts to access their contents

Whole and half pigs are also available, with whole pigs typically providing more than 100 pounds of pork. Some farms give you the option of renting cookers to prepare this meat, giving you the opportunity to hold a pig roast when hosting a large party.

These roasts are popular from May into fall, so be sure to reserve the equipment several weeks before your occasion. You should also provide this advance notice when making a bulk order of meat.

Where can I find CT Grown meats?

Check out the CT Grown map to find a livestock producer near you. There are also many locally owned meat markets and butcher shops that partner with CT Grown farms.

CT Grown seafood on the barbecue

You don’t just have to limit your barbecue to land-based items. Connecticut has a thriving aquaculture business, with local fishing boats hauling in catches of fish, oysters, clams, lobster, squid, scallops, mussels, crab, and more from Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.

Thicker, stronger cuts of fish can be grilled directly on the grates. More delicate filets should be wrapped in tinfoil before grilling, or prepared on a cedar plank to add a smoky flavor. 

Shellfish can also be cooked on the grill, and this method is particularly useful when preparing oysters. Instead of the lengthy and sometimes complicated process of shucking with a knife, grilling causes oysters to simply pop open once they’re heated enough.

Fish markets throughout Connecticut can keep you supplied with fresh, locally caught seafood. Stonington Fresh, a program of the state’s only commercial fleet, maintains a listing of retailers, wholesalers, and other partners who carry the latest catch.

Grilled vegetables and fruits

Reserve some space on the grill for CT Grown vegetables. Cooking veggies on the grill will soften them up, give them a smoky flavor and crispy edge, and help them retain more nutritional value compared to cooking methods like steaming or frying.

To start the grilling season, you can wrap broccoli or asparagus in tinfoil with a light seasoning of salt, pepper, oil, and garlic. Summer squash such as zucchini can be cooked directly on the grill.

Throughout the harvest season, you’ll be able to pick up fresh CT Grown vegetables that also taste great when grilled. Some examples include corn, peppers, onions, winter squash, mushrooms, brussels sprouts, cabbage, eggplant, and potatoes. 

Many local fruits also grill well, with the heat caramelizing their sugars and enhancing their sweetness. Try it at your next barbecue with seasonal options like apples, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, or watermelon.

Fruits and vegetables can easily be paired with local meats on kebabs. You can also serve them as is, or chop them up to mix into other dishes such as pasta salads.

CT Grown barbecue sauce

Visit a farm store, farmers’ market, or local retailer and you’ll discover barbecue sauces made right here in Connecticut. This type of value-added food is popular among CT Grown farmers, since it allows them to make use of bountiful harvests or unsold vegetables that would otherwise go to waste.

Barbecue sauces are made using local ingredients such as peppers, maple syrup, garlic, onion, and tomatoes. It’s a great way to support your local farm while also adding a little zing to your dish.

Connecticut BBQ events in 2023

If grilling at home isn’t enough, check out one of these upcoming barbecue-themed events in Connecticut: