Guest Author - Jennifer Moore Stahlkrantz
Looking to serve an organic Thanksgiving dinner this year? Well, I’ve got some local resources for you, right here in New York State!
When planning a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, roast turkey usually comes to mind first. Many of us grew up on frozen turkeys from the grocery store, and the memory of that flavor (slightly sweeter than fresh) is what gets our mouths watering in late November. However, now that there is more information available on the consequences of ingesting foods tainted with artificial growth hormones, antibiotics, and animal by-products, many of us are looking for healthier alternatives. Take a trip to one of our local, organic turkey farms this year and enjoy the flavor of fresh turkey, support a local farmer, and serve your guests a healthy dinner!
Van Vie Natural Foods
Van Wie raises free range turkey on a vegetarian diet with no antibiotics, no artificial ingredients, and no preservatives. They will ship anywhere in the United States.
Quattro’s Game Farm
Quattro’s raises free-range turkeys that are free of additives, antibiotics and growth hormones. They are fed a vegetarian grain diet and are available for sale at the farm’s store on Route 44 and at the Rhinebeck Farmers Market.
McDonald Family Farm
They raise turkeys free of chemicals, antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, genetically modified grains, and confinement housing. Pick up is available at sites in Rochester, Syracuse, Ithaca, and New York City, or you can call first to arrange a pick up at their working farm.
Kingbird sells their free-range, organic thanksgiving turkeys at their self-serve farm store and at the Ithaca Farmers Market. They have organic potatoes, too!
If none of these farms are near enough for local pick up, consider Plainville Turkey Farm in Onondaga County. They raise all natural turkeys free of antibiotics and growth hormones and ship them to upscale grocery stores like Wegmans (all over Western New York) and specialty stores like Village Prime Meats in Armonk, Johnny’s Meats in Buffalo, Balducci’s in Manhattan, Spurbeck’s in Cooperstown, and My Market in New Paltz.
Also, Table Local Market in Westchester County's Bedford Hills sells heritage turkeys (8-11 and 12-15 lbs. each) raised on a small New York farm.
So, now you’re wondering about the mashed potatoes (my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner). Some vegetables are known to be dirtier (highest in pesticides) or cleaner (lowest). When it comes to potatoes, unfortunately, spuds are on the dirtier list. So, for clean, organic potatoes you’ve got three options: your local health food store like Wholefoods (several downstate locations) or Mustard Seed Natural Food Market in Oswego; nearby farmers markets; or take a ride to an organic farm such as The Meadows Farm in Yorktown Heights, Mud Creek Farm in Victor, or Biophilia Organic Farm in Jamesport.
Sometimes it’s not so easy to serve both local and organic Thanksgiving dinner, like when you’re looking for cranberries for your relish. Do not despair! While they are not grown in New York, Cranberry Hill’s crop of rich, ripe, tangy berries is organically grown in nearby Plymouth, MA, and you can order fresh or sweet dried to be delivered to your door.
*There are a variety of labels out there for organic foods, so do your research on the Mayo Clinic's organic food web page. You’ll want to know the difference between certified organic and made with organic products.
For more information on finding farms, butchers, and how to buy local, healthy food, read The Real Food Revival by Sherri Brooks Vinton and Ann Clark Espuelas (link below). It's a user-friendly book and provides lots of resources.