A Local Thanksgiving: Purchasing a Turkey or the Whole Meal

turkeysWhether you cook a big Thanksgiving dinner yourself or purchase a complete meal, there are several options for locally raised and produced dinners. This isn’t a comprehensive list of everyone in the area doing turkeys and Thanksgiving meals, but a select group for truly local eats. Here’s to a southern New England Thanksgiving! Raise a glass of local wine or local beer.

Turkeys

If you’re cooking Thanksgiving dinner, locally farm-raised turkeys are definitely the way to go. They’re  more flavorful with better skin than mass-produced turkeys and, since they’re available fresh they’re usually much more moist than frozen birds. Broad-breasted whites, your typical meat turkey, are well raised on pasture with no hormones or other chemicals. The turkeys I’ve had from local turkey farms have been so juicy that I don’t brine them, something I had been doing to grocery store turkeys for years.

There are several farms in the area raising pastured turkeys so please look around your home. I mention these two farms because I’ve had their turkeys. The first is Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm near my home in Sterling, Connecticut (the farm is about 4 miles over the R.I. border). They’re well into their reservation period right now, but because they raise so many still have turkeys available, though I would advise calling now to get the size you’d like. We regularly buy Ekonk Hill turkeys and they’re some of the best birds I’ve ever cooked.

The other turkey I recommend is from the farm I work with, Blackbird Farm. I cooked last year’s turkey from Blackbird Farm on my charcoal grill and everyone raved about it. Unfortunately, our turkeys are already all reserved at the farm stand, but I’m happy to pass along the inside scoop that Persimmon Provisions, a marvelous butcher shop in Barrington, has purchased 30 of the birds to sell at the store. I have no idea what their reservations are like, so I would recommend calling.

Catering

So you want to have a big family dinner at home but aren’t able to cook? You’re going to want to look into one of these options:

Easy Entertaining, Inc. is offering a number of complete dinner packages or a la carte choices. From their order form, “Easy Entertaining Inc. prides itself on sourcing over 70% of products from a 250 mile radius, year-round. Serving a Thanksgiving package from Easy Entertaining Inc. is serving locally raised vegetables from Schartner Farms, Confreda Farms, Cooks Valley, Barden Family Orchards and many more. Feasting with Easy Entertaining is roasting a humanely raised, hormone and antibiotic free, grain fed, happy bird from Baffoni Poultry Farms. Thanksgiving with Easy Entertaining is serving a homemade cranberry-apple sauce, with cranberries grown in bogs less than 30 miles away.” Easy Entertaining’s form with directions can be found here. The deadline for ordering is November 17.

Tastings Wine Bar & Bistro‘s Chef Ben Lacy is putting together a Thanksgiving dinner to be picked up, based around an organically raised farm fresh turkey from Misty Knoll Farms, which you can also purchase uncooked if you want to prepare the bird but not the rest of the meal. Tastings is offering several soups, salads, pies, rolls and 11 different side dishes. Their deadline is November 18 and the order form can be found here.

Tallulah on Thames in Newport is offering a “Farm to Table” Thanksgiving to Go for the second year in a row. The meal includes a heritage breed turkey from Brambly Farms along with many sides made from locally farmed produce. More information can be found on their “To Go” page. The deadline is November 19 and the order form can be found here.

Ripe Hospitality is offering a Thanksgiving meal that not only feeds your family but also gives back to feed others as well. “Ripe Hospitality is donating a portion of all of the proceeds from Thanksgiving meals to several Rhode Island and Boston based non-profits including the Rhode Island Food Bank, the Genesis Center, and Kids Can Cook! As always, we’ve created a menu using organic, all natural products that come from the finest farms, local producers, and specialty suppliers New England has to offer!” Ripe Hospitality’s deadline is November 19, though they recommend reserving sooner if you’re interested in the unique in-home preparation option. Their menu and contact information can be found here.

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