Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008: A Somewhat Local Feast

I didn't realize I was so on the cutting edge, but this Thanksgiving I decided to try a heritage breed turkey for Thanksgiving, and when visiting the City Seed Farmer's Market in New Haven in October, I jumped at the chance to order a local turkey from Northfordy Farm in Northford, CT. Peter the farmer said his turkeys were Narragansett. Perfect!

Then, City Seed's weekly email highlighted a recent article in the New York Times about Connecticut eaters flocking to local food sources, especially for Thanksgiving turkeys. I'm glad I got my order in early! Read the article here. (It even lists a farm stand on Daniels Farm Road, the road where my grandfather grew up in Trumbull, CT. The road is all housing developments now, but apparently there's still some farmland. I'll have to check it out soon.)

Last year I ordered a turkey from Gozzi's in Guilford, and their birds are the standard white breed. I didn't notice much difference in taste from a supermarket turkey, but I did take comfort in knowing where my food came from.

Last year's recipe involved brining the bird for a day ahead of time. It was very good, but very involved. First, a turkey wing poked a hole in the brining bag, so I had salty spiced iced water dripping into the cooler I had decided to put the large bird in. Fortunately I had the foresight to figure that a bag with a turkey and a few gallons of salty water would not fit on the bottom shelf of the fridge. But I worried about keeping the turkey cold enough in the cooler in the garage when the outside temperature wasn't very cold. That was last year.

This year, I went with a simpler recipe from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food. We picked the 17 pound turkey up on Wednesday, so brining was out of the question. The mustard and brown sugar glazed turkey was moist and delicious!

The heritage breed tasted "turkier" than supermarket turkey--the white meat wasn't as white and the dark meat was pretty dark, but not gamey.

Not everything was local, but we tried:

Pleasant Cow Cheese, Sankow's Beaver Brook Farm, Lyme, CT
Goat Cheese, Northfordy Farm, Northford, CT
Heritage Breed Turkey, Northfordy Farm, Northford, CT
Potatoes, Maine
Apples for homemade apple pie, Lyman Orchards
Rhubarb for homemade rhubarb pie, Olde Gate Farm, Wallingford, CT

We didn't have a big group this year, just my husband's parents and brother, but it was a lovely and relaxing day.

I think a good meal was had by all, from oldest to youngest.

And by 6pm, the guests had left, the dishes were mostly done, and the beginnings of turkey soup were simmering on the stove.

And by the way, the turkey enchiladas we had tonight (with another batch in the freezer for another dinner) were a good way to sneak the leftovers upon those who protest, "Oh yuck! Not turkey AGAIN!!"

How was your Thanksgiving?

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