This blog was originally written for the Newberry Now Magazine and published in their November 2022 issue. It has been edited and updated to include a larger audience outside of Newberry, SC as well as updated information regarding farmers and products.
Can you believe it? Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away! Are you hosting family and friends in your home or are you hitting the road and heading out of town? Either way, wouldn’t it be fun to have a little bit of local on the table as you gather? We think so!
Planning the menu, shopping for the ingredients, and the actual cooking and baking are all stressful pieces of the Thanksgiving holiday. And as a farmer, I admit that supporting local may take more time, energy, and money. It isn’t as easy as a one-stop-shop at the grocery store; it requires more planning, possibly multiple stops, and sometimes purchasing from a local grower cost more. But don’t be overwhelmed. Every ingredient in every dish doesn’t have to be local. Let's start small. Let’s plan ahead. And let’s plan together.
For all our local friends, Newberry is so lucky to have many local farmers with products available this time of year. And while the list below is not an exhaustive one, it’s a great place to start for some of the staples you may have on the menu for your Thanksgiving dinner. And even if you're not local to Newberry, we've got some ideas for you as well.
Are you planning a salad for Thanksgiving? Renegade Acre, located in Newberry, is a local producer of microgreens. Microgreens are not only great for salads but can be used to garnish almost any dish on your table. They are rich with flavor and nutrition and would be a beautiful local addition to your Thanksgiving menu. Renegade Acre products can be found at Figaro Market and Mike’s Produce.
We all know that most vegetable dishes at a Southerner’s Thanksgiving don’t pass as vegetarian, but if the vegetable isn’t good, there’s no amount of pork that can cover that up. Redfoot Farms has collards, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, turnips, and turnip greens available through December, and you know they’ll be delicious all on their own. You can find Redfoot Farm products at their farmstand located at 89 Redbird Lane in Little Mountain.
And of course, where would the Thanksgiving meal be without dairy? Just A Farm, located in Whitmire, has raw milk and cream available. With their milk and cream, don’t just think baked goods or mac-and-cheese. Have you ever thought about making your own butter for the mashed potatoes or whipped cream for the pie? Your Thanksgiving just leveled up! You can find Just a Farm products at Hillside Sausage or make an appointment for an on farm pickup.
This year, Bowers Farm did not raise any turkeys, but we do have Ham Roasts, Ham Steaks and whole chickens that range from 4lb-7lb that would all be great alternatives for the centerpiece of your family dinner. And don't forget the bacon, sausage, and eggs for the family breakfast or ingredients in other dishes.
Not from around here? Ask around. Post on Facebook. Find a local producer near you to support this Thanksgiving. It doesn't have to be every single thing on the menu, but you've got to start somewhere.
Lastly, don’t forget to tell the story! Just as you may put place markers down for a seating arrangement or a note to share which dish is gluten free, make a marker to share with those gathering where some of the ingredients came from. Name these farms in the blessing of the meal. Share a picture online and tag them! No matter how big or small the contribution of ingredients, let us give thanks for those in our communities who have made the food on our plates possible.
The food on your plate tells a story - get to know it, share it, give thanks for it!
Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!