Sometimes it's hard to turn away the syrup-filled canned
cranberries--the globular, oozing structure that comes with circular can marks
that scream "tradition." But this Thanksgiving, LiveGreenTwinCities offers
something better than that old, ringed, sorta-cranberry glob: A guide to a delicious, all-natural, organic, and sustainable Thanksgiving that's as good for your health as it is the environment.
So relax, pull up a chair, join the conversation, and feast on the delights of a green Thanksgiving. THE TURKEY
First, let's start with the basics: the turkey. But before you start gobbling up that gobble-gobbler, know that every Thanksgiving more than 45 million turkeys
are eaten in the United States, according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. And nearly all of those turkeys are from a factory farm.
Over the last 10 years or so, there has been increasing widespread criticism
about how the 250 million or so turkeys are raised on factory farms, where ultra-confined spaces and a desire for the "biggest" breasts result in not only serious health hazards and overgrown turkeys so bloated and unhealthy they can't stand, but turkeys pumped full of antibiotics and hormones that are passed on to the consumer.
These issues, along with environmental hazards factory turkeys cause, are just a few of the reasons why so many food and environmental experts suggest going with an all-natural pasture-raised turkey
for the holidays instead of a factory-farm turkey.
Both Lund's and Byerly's
sell organic, pasture-raised turkeys that are locally raised in Minnesota. All-natural turkeys (meaning they're free of hormones but not free-range) start at $1.29 a lb., and free-range, certified-organic locally raised turkeys are running $4.29 a lb.
Turkeys at area co-ops are running a bit cheaper. (For a location near you, check out The Mix.
) Seward Coop
, for example, is selling Schultz turkeys, raised by Minnesota farmer Larry Schultz,
for $2.99 a lb. and Ferdnale Fresh turkeys, from a turkey farm in Cannon Falls, Minn., for $2.29 a lb. And the Wedge is selling free-range Kadejan turkeys
(the same farm Lucia's Restaurant uses for its poultry) for $1.99 a lb. One caveat: You might want to place your order asap. Co-ops are talking pre-orders for turkeys through November 19th. But if you miss the deadline there still should be some available for last-minute Wednesday shoppers.
Of course, all of the local choices are equally delicious. But if you're going with an unknown farm, be sure to look for the term "pasture-raised." This ensures they turkeys weren't raised in a dangerous, confined space, which is not only bad for the turkeys and your health, but also harmful to the environment, resulting in contaminated water run off that's seriously polluting rivers, lakes, and streams.
Sick of turkey? There's always organic lamb, goose, duck, and salmon. And for the vegetarians, Lund's, Byerly's, and your local co-ops also offer up Tofurky
Don't want to mess up the kitchen? All of the local co-ops are offering organic, sustainable side dishes a la carte or family-sized. And if it all just seems too much work this year, you can take the whole family to FireLake
in downtown Minneapolis. The restaurant is serving up a sustainable Thanksgiving meal featuring Minnesota's own Wild Acres turkey. THE SIDES
The green-bean casserole. The stuffing. The cranberry sauce. The mashed potatoes. The yams. Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving without a serious carb overload and subsequent food coma. And, thankfully, grocery stores all over Minnesota are carrying organic, local, and seasonal produce
to help aid in that carb fix.
In-season veggies like squash, pumpkin, beets, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and a host of other locally grown vegetables can be purchased at Bylery's, Lund's, your local co-op, and at Cub and Rainbow. If your grocery store doesn't have a wide selection of organic and local produce, ask that they do.
For some excellent sustainable side-dish recipes, check out the Eat Well blog
, featuring guides to making organic dishes like cornbread and sage stuffing; cranberry-orange relish; and fiery sweet potatoes. And for vegans and vegetarians, check out this excellent New York Times guide
to some of the best veggie recipes from premier chefs. And for a taste of tradition that's truly organic, try out this recipe for organic green-bean casserole.THE DESSERT
Let's face it: When people harp "Leave room for dessert!" it's really just another tradition wrapped in another tradition: No one ever follows the instructions. Everyone says they're "too stuffed" to eat dessert. And then they proceed not only to eat dessert, but often go in for seconds. Yeah, we have your number, America.
If you're a serious fan of baking, then you know the best homemade recipes. Instead of margarine, you use only organic butter, like locally produced butter from Hope Creamery.
You ensure none of your ingredients contain unnatural sweeteners, food coloring, or high-fructose corn syrup. And if you're Super Baker, you make your own delectable crust--the one the nieces and nephews and next-door neighbors demand.
Or, if you're anything like us, you prefer to take the easiest and most direct route to that sweet goodness: Your local bakery. Lucia's Bakery
is one place to start. Known for using fresh, organic, and sustainable ingredients, Lucia's serves up delicious pies that are sure to win accolades even with the most nitpicking of guests. Turtle Bread Company
, and Patrick's Bakery and Cafe
are also known for their uber-tempting made-from-scratch pies.
For the perfect pie topper, pick up a gallon of homemade ice cream from Pumphouse Creamery.
Made with Hope Creamery butter and all-natural ingredients, Pumphouse flavors include locally roasted pumpkin, hot cinnamon and local apples, and local organic strawberry.
Yes, we are feeling very thankful indeed.