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Fall in Woodstock

From The Blog Local Feast: Source Your Thanksgiving Meal in Woodstock

Farm-to-table is so trendy that it’s become a cliché or far-fetched in many locations. When you go to a “farm-to-table” restaurant smack in the middle of a metropolis, without green grass in sight or tractors for miles, how long did it take that farm food to arrive? Maybe it’s more, farm – to delivery truck, to processing center, to tractor trailer, to turnpike, to finally arriving in the city. Though Vermont has been said to be the beginning of the farm-to-table movement, the difference is that in Vermont our farms are local. We can cut out the tractor trailer, the turnpike, quite often the processing plant, and even the delivery truck! Often our local chefs have their own family farms and symbiotic relationships with nearby purveyors to create sustainable ways to purchase what they don’t grow or raise themselves. You’ll see them out picking fresh vegetables, talking with the farmer about what is growing best this season, and butchering their own meats.

As farm-to-table has lost its shine, truer phrases like “locally sourced” and “localvore” have taken hold. In Woodstock, Vermont we have an abundance of incredible farms, gardens, and makers all around us. The largest feasting holiday in the country is coming up, so this Thanksgiving we challenge you to become a localvore! Know what farm your pumpkins were grown, what soil your onions were pulled from, and what pastures the turkey wandered. Try to purchase each ingredient with the knowledge that it didn’t travel hundreds of miles to arrive to your home. Here are some hints to get started finding ingredients local to Woodstock, Vermont.

Thanksgiving at Billings

The Turkey

Of course, the dinner centerpiece! Don’t reach for that deep frozen bird piled among thousands of others. Ethically raised, organic fed, local turkeys won’t be hard to find (just don’t wait too long to buy!).

Head to the Farm: Direct-sourcing your bird from the farm it was raised is the ultimate localvore move, it cuts out additional mass transport and closes the farm-to-table circle. Some farms in our area with delicious turkeys for Thanksgiving include, Cloudland Farm in North Pomfret, Sweetland Farm in Norwich, Hinterland Organic Farm in Killington, and Hartland Hill Farm in Hartland.

Stop at the Store: If you waited too long to pre-order directly with the farm, or you like the convenience of picking up some other groceries while you’re out, there are plenty of opportunities to find local thanksgiving turkeys at markets around Woodstock! First stop is the Woodstock Farmer’s Market where they source from some of the same farms listed above, and down the road, Jake’s Market in Quechee stocks fresh birds from Misty Knoll Farms in New Haven, VT.

Red Hen Bakery

The Stuffing

Whether you’re an in-the-bird, a casserole dish, or a stuffing stuffed with every veggie imaginable type of family, you can source all of it from the area surrounding Woodstock, VT!

We’ve got to start with the bread. The next best thing to bread that you baked yourself (if you’re not readily talented with yeast), is bread made by a local baker. Of course, stuffing is usually made with stale crusts, so take advantage of the day-old specials! Bread that hasn’t been mass produced is among one of the easier things to find in Woodstock, most stores will have an artisan bread section with Red Hen Baking Co. (Middlesex, VT) or other locally crafted loaves. If you want to go directly to the source, King Arthur Baking in Norwich is worth the trip to see the bakers in action!

Next are the add-ins, from onions and celery to mushrooms and sage, your Thanksgiving stuffing deserves the best, fresh ingredients. Local vegetables are another easy find at any local market, like the Woodstock Farmer’s Market and Jake’s Quechee Market, they’ll even display where the produce is from.  For fresh vegetables from the source, take the trip to a nearby roadside farmstand: On The Edge Farmstand in Pomfret, Edgewater Farm in Plainfield, NH, Kiss the Cow Farm in Barnard to name a few!

On The Edge Farm
On The Edge Farm
Woodstock Framers Market
Mile High Pie
Mountain Creamery

The Pies

Pumpkin, apple, sweet potato, cherry, maple pecan… Can we skip right to dessert? From the buttery crust to the whipped cream top, and of course the delicious fillings, you can find each item from a local farm. And, if you prefer to focus on the gathering and not the cooking, that’s ok too! Plenty of talented bakers make and sell pies in nearby shops, stores, and roadside stands (like Eastman Family Farm in Quechee or Mountain Creamery restaurant in Woodstock).

First, let’s get the butter for the crust. Dairy farms all over the state make the commodity, so it’s not hard to find. Vermont Creamery is a great go-to, or if you’re feeling up for it, try to make your own butter with Billings Farm! Next up, head to the orchard to pick your own apples. You’ll be cutting out the mass transport and making a day of it! Moore’s Orchard in Pomfret and Whitman Brook Orchard in Quechee are a few of our favorites nearby. Find sugar pumpkins at most farms and farmstands this time of year, and for fresh whipped cream, pick out heavy whipping cream from local Strafford Organic Creamery in Strafford, VT or McNamara Dairy in Plainfield, NH and make your own. For the ultimate VT topping, we love a maple whipped cream (just add 2 tablespoons of Vermont maple syrup, and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract per cup of cream as you whip).

four photo collage

Yes, we skipped over all the incredible sides like mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes, roasted butternut squash, mac and cheese (Billings Farm Cheddar makes the creamiest!), green beans, brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, and your family’s favorite traditions. But now that you’ve got the hang of how to go to the source – the farm, or find a market that stocks local goods, you have all the tools to find every ingredient you need, locally. So, give thanks this Thanksgiving to our farmers, gardeners, and local purveyors who work hard and give us the opportunity to become localvores.