This Thanksgiving might look a little different from ones in years past. With air travel down, gatherings may be smaller than normal. But the holiday can still focus on being part of the surrounding community. One way to keep it close to home is to locally source as much of the meal as possible. In a place as bountiful as Lewis County, you can create a gourmet Thanksgiving feast that also supports your hard-working neighbors.
For many people, Thanksgiving centers around a golden brown turkey proudly placed on the table. Most turkeys in the United States come from commercial farms, where birds are bred to get as big as they can as quickly as possible. However, heritage breed turkeys are gaining in popularity due to their quality of life and exceptional taste.
When Cook’s Illustrated conducted a taste test of several heritage turkeys, they discovered “flavor worlds apart from ordinary turkey—far more rich and flavorful,” especially when it came to the white meat. Luckily, there is a farm in Lewis County with an excellent alternative to the frozen Butterball.
Coffee Creek Community & Gardens in Centralia raises happy turkeys, including an assortment of heritage breeds, along with Pekin ducks. They are available for pickup at a special Harvest Farm Stand the Monday before Thanksgiving (2:00 to 6:00 p.m.). Birds sell out quickly, so interested parties should submit a non-refundable $30 deposit to reserve, which will apply towards the total cost.
Of course, the endless parade of side dishes and desserts are what make Thanksgiving the ultimate foodie holiday. Coffee Creek’s Harvest Farm Stand will also provide potatoes, pumpkins and other squash, garlic, and fresh veggies for the feast.
A sample of the rest of Lewis County’s bounty is represented by other local farms growing quality produce for a tasty Thanksgiving meal.
Newaukum Valley Farm in Adna offers a November produce box filled with fresh, certified organic vegetables such as delicata and butternut squash, leeks, carrots, potatoes, leafy greens, and more. The box is available for pre-order through their website. Pick up will be on Saturday, November 21 at the farm stand between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m.
Boistfort Valley Farm in Curtis currently has winter/spring shares of their CSA available. The boxes of high-quality organic vegetables and fruit are delivered twice a month, starting on November 18 and running through May. You can pick up at the farm, in Centralia or Chehalis, or even in Olympia.
Another option for meal prep shopping is the Toledo Thursday Market, a year-round market that takes place from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Steamboat Landing. Not all vendors sell in winter, but the market expects that several vendors will have booths as long as possible.
Buckleberry Farm plans to sell Cinderella pumpkins—perfect for decorating and eating, along with leafy greens, and maybe broccoli and farm fresh eggs.
In addition, Raven’s Wind Farm, located in Toledo, hopes to have blue oyster mushrooms, wine cap mushrooms, and lion’s mane mushrooms available for a special treat for holiday meals. They also plan to begin selling cheese made with milk from their Nigerian Dwarf goats, though the timeline for that is not quite set.
Other vendors may include Vienna Gardens and McMurphy Creek Farms. Be sure to check out the Market’s online store for easy pickup.
In addition to all that great food, how about some local beer to wash it all down? Jones Creek Brewing near Pe Ell has you covered.
Their seasonal beers for November will be a German-style doppelbock, a whiskey barrel-aged barley wine, and black currant gose. They recommend pairing their s’more stout, which is brewed with graham crackers and roasted marshmallow, with the traditional sweet potato side dish. For a fun twist, the owners enjoy basting their turkey on the grill with the Klaber Kolsch, fresh rosemary, and a lemon pepper rub. Side note, the Kolsch uses local hops grown in the historic Boistfort Valley.
The regular brewery hours are Friday through Sunday, but they will be open the day before Thanksgiving from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for growler fills.
The best-laid plans in farming (and brewing) can often go astray due to weather, pests, and unforeseen disasters. Be sure to check websites or Facebook pages as the holiday gets closer to have a better idea of product availability.
Pre-order whatever you can, such as the turkey, duck, and CSA boxes. Some items, like pumpkin and winter squash, can be bought in advance and stored for making pies and such as the big meal draws near. Whatever route you take, happy eating to you and yours!