By Cheryl Skibicki
With Thanksgiving just under a week away, many families are making final arrangements for food and company. This year, why not try to put something on the table that’s produced locally?
Thanksgiving is a food tradition that is all our own. It is a holiday that is distinctly American and naturally regional, making it easy to celebrate the agriculture bounty of our Western New York community.
Local producers of homegrown turkeys include Wendel’s Poultry, Blackman Homestead, Painted Meadow, Oles Family Farm, and HLW Acres to name a few. Hermann from HLW Acres processes birds that he gets from a network of small farmers, and says that the birds have a higher quality of life when they are not commercially raised. Small farmers tend to take better care and use friendly treatment of the animals, equating to a richer flavor, more nutrients, and less resources consumed in the process. Local producers offer a meaningful guarantee of quality, which often means they use heritage breeds of turkey that are less common, but more delicious. “Heritage breeds tend to have more dark meat,” says Hermann. “Their color and texture is different but they are exceptionally moist and tender.”
Preserve the hard work of small farmers who raise heritage breeds in our community by reserving your bird early. The best way to ensure that these farms continue to exist is to build a thriving market for them.
Colorful piles of seasonal side dishes adorn every overflowing thanksgiving plate. If you’re still on the hunt for yours, you’re in luck – you can still find what you need this Wednesday at the East Aurora Farmers Market from 7am-1pm. You will feel the spirit of the holiday in the atmosphere and your patronage will keep local vendors warm in the late autumn morning frost. Fenton Farm has beautiful pie pumpkins and squash, whether you prefer butternut, delica, hubbard, or spaghetti squash varieties. Or try a thanksgiving CSA share from Arden Farm. Now is a great time of year for carrots, kohlrabi, kale, arugula, onions, and leeks that sweeten in the colder temperatures. Why not grab a bag full of a little of all they have to offer? For stuffing, grab a loaf of sourdough made fresh at the Elm Street Bakery, and find the apples, celery, sage, and eggs you need to prepare an entirely local savory favorite!
After all the work of preparing your feast is complete, sit down to give thanks for all the people who made your meal possible. Enjoy the fruits of your harvest and taste the local quality produced with pride.