So here we are with our national annual pig out holiday mean coming up. And I could talk a lot about all the moral and ethical reasons you should buy locally, naturally grown food for your holiday meal. How your purchase helps small farmers survive. How your purchase is another vote for food grown using environmentally sound methods. How your purchase fosters vibrant local economies.
But you wanna know the really really REALLY important reason you should buy local, naturally grown food for your Thanksgiving festivities? Because it tastes SO SO SO GOOD.
Let’s put it this way, when we run out of Willowood Farm potatoes, I just plain don’t eat potatoes at home. Not because I’m being true to the seasons or anything idealistic like that, but because every single time I’ve bought a store potato, even an organically grown one, I am sorely disappointed with the flavor. If I go out to a restaurant that doesn’t buy my potatoes and I order a potato dish my husband always says, “If you are going to order that I don’t want to hear you complain about it. You KNOW they aren’t your potatoes!” And I’ve found this experience runs pretty much across the board with all vegetables. And fruit. And meat. And dairy. Basically, if you want to buy something processed and prepackaged, well it’s probably about as good as you can get at the grocery store. But otherwise, if flavor matters to you, buy as close to naturally (or organic) grown as you can get and as local as you can get.
So, where do you get this mouth wateringly flavorful food for your thanksgiving meal then, you ask??? Well….lucky for you there are more and more locally available options for amazing local food. Some of the best here on Whidbey island is the Saturday Bayview Farmer’s Market. That’s right, a farmer’s market you can hit BEFORE thanksgiving! And…it is inside a wonderful warm and holiday decorated greenhouse to bet. Shop in comfort and ease! Kylie, my amazing harvest manager, tells me we are loading up LOADS of the following goodies for a great market selection tomorrow:
* Potatoes * Garlic * Onions * Shallots * Leeks * Winter Squash * PIE PUMPKINS AND RECIPES * Romanesco Cauliflower * Brussels Sprouts * Turnips * Rutabagas * Parsnips * Kale * Collards * Carrots * Beets * Cabbage * Kohlrabi * Celeriac * Horseradish * Sunchokes * Heirloom Dry Beans * Korean Daikon
The market runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. but it’s SATURDAYs only, so if you can’t make than what to do???? Well, never fear you can still swing by the Three Sister Farm Store off of Hwy 20 in San de Fuca (between Coupeville and Oak Harbor). Jessica (one of the “Three Sistas” as we like to call them), has been super busy stocking an amazing amount of Willowood Farm veggies for holiday meals, not to mention great local food from other farms including their very own beef and pork, plus great local pies, dairy products and just tons of great local food. The Goose at Bayview corner and also our very own Coupeville Prairie Center also has a selection of Willowood Farm vegetables on their counters – both stores are carrying our winter squash and leeks through the holiday season. And you can find our heirloom dry beans bags at all mentioned above, plus bayleaf in Coupeville and the Star Store in Langley.
Meanwhile, here’s a link to some great pumpkin pie recipes – Make sure to come get our amazing heirloom pie pumpkins to use in your pumpkin recipes!
And, a couple of my favorite holiday harvest vegetable recipes. These are tried and true for the Willowood Farm Thanksgiving meal! So have a great annual Pig Out day and Happy Thanksgiving!
Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Sunchokes, Celeriac with Balsamic Vinegar and Honey
1 ½ lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved.
1 lb sunchokes, cleaned and sliced into ¼ inch slices
1 (approx. ½ lb) celeriac (celery root) peeled and sliced into ¼ inch slices
6 garlic cloves, sliced thin
6 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 more for spreading
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a large bow, toss Brussels sprouts , sunchokes, celeriac, garlic and toss with 6 tablespons olive oil. Make sure vegetables are evenly coated and add more if needed.
Spread vegetables on a baking sheet and roast, stirring occasionally to ensure even browning until tender and caramelized, and crispy on edges, about 20 minutes.
Place vegetables in a bowl, add 2 more tbl olive oil, add honey, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Mix, toss and adjust seasoning to taste.
Mashed Potato, Rutabaga and Parsnip Casserole with Carmelized Onions
- 7 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 3 pounds Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 ½ pounds rutabagas, peeled and cubed
- 1 ¼ parsnips peeled and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
- 8 cloves garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- ¾ cup butter, softened
- 3 onions, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- salt to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
Directions: Combine chicken broth, rutabagas, garlic cloves, bay leaf and thyme in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover partially. Boil for about 10 minutes then add parsnips and potatoes. Simmer for about another 20 to 3 minutes until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and drain.
While vegetables are cooking, melt ¼ cup butter in a heavy large skillet over medium high heat. Add sliced onons. Saute until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low. Saute until onions are tender and golden brown about 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside.
Transfer vegetables to a large bowl, add ½ cup butter. Using an electric mixer, beat mixture until mashed but still chunky. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer mashed vegetables to a buttered 13x9x2 inch dish.
Take carmelized onions and spread evenly over mashed vegetables. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake dish uncovered, for 25 minutes, until heated through and top crisps.
This recipes serves 4 to 6 people, with some for left-overs!