Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thanksgiving Tips from the Santa Monica Farmers Market

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. A celebration of food, family and friends that also provides a great opportunity to get back to the roots of Thanksgiving by shopping locally this year.

1. Think Outside the Turkey
If you weren’t able to get your hands on a local, Farmers Market turkey this year don’t despair – get creative and sustainable! How about trying a chicken from Lily’s Eggs (all four Santa Monica Farmers Markets) or Healthy Family Farms (both Saturday and the Sunday Markets), beef from Rocky Canyon Farms (Wednesday, Saturday Downtown and Sunday Markets) or J&J Ranch(Saturday Pico Market), pork from Rocky Canyon Farms, bison from Lindner Bison (Wednesday and Saturday Downtown Markets), lobster from Charlie Graham (Wednesday and Sunday Markets), fish from Anjin (Wednesday and Saturday Downtown Markets), shellfish from Carlsbad Aquafarm (Wednesday and Saturday Downtown Markets) or lamb or goat from Jimenez Farm (Wednesday Market).

2. Local Produce
We all know side dishes make the meal. This year, find out where your produce comes from. For your green bean casserole, yams, mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts, chestnuts, apples and pumpkins for pie, vegetarian main course, and any other vegetable or fruit need you can dream up, get all of your produce from the Santa Monica Farmers Markets. Don’t forget juice and cider, too. Your fruits and veggies will be tastier, fresher and better for you and the environment.

3. Sweet Dreams
For a sweet ending to your feast pick up some tasty pecan pies from The Sweet Spot (Sunday Market) and exquisite handmade chocolate from Guanni Chocolates (Sunday Market). Paso Almonds and their famous almond brittle won’t be at the Market this year (unfortunately their trees didn’t produce any almonds this year) but they are still making their fantastic almond brittle with other almonds. You can find it at Rockenwagner Bakery on Arizona Avenue.

4. Set the Scene
Save yourself a trip and get your food and decorations in the same place – the Santa Monica Farmers Markets. Keep your table simple and elegant. Beautiful gourds, winter squashes and pumpkins are bountiful at farmers’ stands this time of year, and pomegranates add burst of seasonal flavor and color. The Markets are blooming with local flowers and succulent plants and wreaths from Sugar Bush Proteas (Wednesday and Saturday Downtown) are unique and gorgeous.

5. Thank Your Host
If it’s your turn to be a guest and not a host it’s always nice to bring a small gift. Beeswax candles and handmade soaps from the honey vendors, scrumptious jams and jellies from your favorite farmers, artisan olive oil from Adams Olive Ranch, beautiful herbs, soaps and jams from It Began in the Garden (Wednesday and Saturday Downtown Markets), houseplants from Casa Blanca (Wednesday Market), or even a seedling from Hayground Organics (Wednesday and Saturday Downtown Markets) all make perfect thank you’s for a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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