Local Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

products-from-slgCheck out the phenomenal variety of goods I purchased this week from the Sequim Locally Grown outlet: cinnamon rolls and a peach pie (wow!) from Sequim Valley Products, turnips, kohlrabi, and leeks from the Lazy J Farm, shallots from the Johnston Farms, flax seed from Teri Crockett, fresh oysters from QuilBay Seafood, and a live Colorado Blue Spruce tree from the Hydrangea Rangers (which we will plant after Christmas)! I had also recently purchased locally grown wheat from Nash’s store, fresh raw milk from the Dungeness Valley Creamery, freshly roasted coffee from Princess Valient, fresh raw honey from the Rarely Bee Haven Apiary, and lip balm and soap from the Galloping Goats Farm. That is just a small sampling of what is available.

Sequim Locally Grown makes it so easy. You just go online and browse through the produce and products posted by local farmers and artisans, make your selections by Tuesday evening, and then pick up your order at the local Grange on Thursday. It’s a special treat to see what was selected for you to complete your order – and definitely fun to see what everyone else is getting to give you ideas on what to order next week (personally, I’m going for Yvonne’s Chocolates!). (More local sources of food can be found on my Buy Local page – and if you think of someone who needs to be added, please contact me!)

This Thanksgiving, I am literally OVERWHELMED by how blessed we are to have so much available to us that is grown right here! It is such a privilege to be able to get to know the good people who work so hard to bring it to our table!

I am also keenly aware that not everyone is blessed with such abundance. According to the World Food Program, over a billion people in the world are going hungry, which means 1 in 6 people do not get enough food to be healthy. We are spoiled in the US, but we still have our problems. They are not insurmountable. It just takes a little effort on everyone’s part to help out someone else. Can’t find locally grown food near you? Go to Local Harvest for a directory of family farms. Just plug in your zip code and you may be surprised what is available near you. Real farmers. Real food. All across the country. Once you taste locally grown, anything else seems mediocre. Being a locavore becomes a mindset and a way of life.

I also know that I am extremely fortunate to be able to grow my own food – and although my hourly wage may not amount to much, the pride I have in knowing I am providing the very best nutrition and flavor for my family, the security in knowing that no matter what the economy does, we will have plenty of food, and the satisfaction in doing something that keeps me physically fit and that provides me something of substance (that I can see and EAT!) as a result of my labor – is worth far more than what I would pay for a similar (but ultimately inferior) item that has been transported from who knows where to sit on a shelf in a supermarket.

I have corn and beans in the freezer, canned tomatoes, relish, and jams on the shelves, and broccoli, chard, collards, and an assortment of greens ready to harvest in the garden right now. I have numerous boxes of Gravenstein apples and several varieties of potatoes in our barn, along with an assortment of pumpkins and other squashes. (If you could use some apples, please contact me!)

Abundance is what Thanksgiving has become all about. Get this: according to the American Council on Exercise, for the average American, Thanksgiving is a time to consume 3,000 calories and 229 grams of fat. If that doesn’t epitomize this odd compulsion Americans have with consumption, I don’t know what does.

I think of those early Pilgrims, whom we unrealistically commemorate on this holiday, and how they sat down with the Wampanoag Native Americans (who undoubtedly lent them a hand to keep them from starving!), probably at a simple feast that included deer and seafood as well as fowl, beans, corn, squash, and probably some wild greens. And guess what? IT WAS ALL LOCAL FOOD!

So before you commit yourself to a post-Thanksgiving feast coma followed by a fleeting idea of the need to walk for 30 miles to wear off those calories (and then collapsing for 3 days afterward and doing nothing), consider what Thanksgiving means to you. A time to be thankful, of course; also a time to be mindful. Abundance? Yes. Over-consumption? Not necessarily. A time to celebrate the fruits of all the hard work that went into making all this food available. A time to lend a hand to others.

And if you really want to celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving – GO LOCAL!

Thank a farmer. Thank the hands that feed you. Thank your neighbor!

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