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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Real Food Thanksgiving

Jessica Walliser
Hobby Farms Contributor

I pulled the last carrots from my garden to serve at our Thanksgiving feast. Photo by Jessica Walliser (HobbyFarms.com)
Photo by Jessica Walliser
I pulled the last carrots from my garden to serve at our Thanksgiving feast.

It is always my intent to harvest from the garden year-round. I plant plenty of root crops, like beets, turnips, radishes and others, so I can keep harvesting for as long as possible. Come early November, I nestle them under 6 inches of straw mulch and peel the mulch back whenever I am ready to pick the roots. But, it is a rare year that my plan actually works, because come Thanksgiving, all bets are off!

And so yesterday, the day before Thanksgiving, I went out to the garden to see what I could find. Admittedly, I take great pleasure in feeding our guests food that we grew ourselves and I suspect that other gardeners feel the same. We are having 11 people for Thanksgiving dinner and I raided the garden so that we might have some homegrown vegetables on the table. I pulled out the last of the carrots (so much for my year-round harvest on those!), which I will use to make my Pennsylvania Dutch potato filling, a dozen radishes to use in the salad, a handful of shallots for the stuffing, enough lettuce and baby pac choi to fill the salad bowl, parsley, sage and thyme. The potatoes dug in September will also find their way to the kitchen from their bins in the dark garage. It was a pleasure to be in the garden on such a cold day, picking fresh produce for family and friends.

Now, on Thanksgiving morning, the kitchen is filled with the wonderful smells of home cooking and homegrown herbs. Our turkey came from a friend's farm, where the poultry is treated nearly as well as the children. I know it will be delicious. I am grateful to know where my food comes from, to have the opportunity to raise some of it in my own backyard and to know the people who grew the food that I myself could not. Happy Thanksgiving!

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It is nice to have fresh from the garden around the holidays
Carl, Livermore, CA
Posted: 6/8/2013 3:57:26 PM
I hope you and your family had a great Thanksgiving, Jessica!! Almost a story book Thanksgiving dinner! With the bounty from the garden and a turkey from a local well-cared for farm!

I've only had the experience of digging out carrots (or, serving food from my garden for that matter) for Thanksgiving once. I've only been gardening here in the nor'east for a little more than 30 years. During the second (or, third year?) I decided to keep the carrots in the ground (raised bed actually)...without mulch, in hope that we can dig them out for Thanksgiving dinner. Lo & behold!, it was like trying to sink the pitch fork on asphalt! I went back to the basement and took out the crowbar and still no luck. The ground was so frozen the crowbar was just bouncing off the ground. Needless to say, we had to forego the carrots from the garden that year. The following year I made sure I mulch the bed and covered it with a good two foot high mulch of leaves. Then, put plastic tarp over it. When I went to dig them out Thanksgiving morning, although the temperature was below freezing and had been for quite a few days already, I didn't have trouble pulling them out with my bare hand. The ground was still so soft. Those carrots were the best carrots I've ever tasted. They were so sweet it tasted like they were coated with sugar. Also, that year I planted a half a dozen mini-cauli(flower)s in a small cold frame (2' deep X 4' wide) and was able to keep them there till Thanksgiving. That was the only time that I had the opportunity to do it. Kids came (six of them), reconstruction of the house started the following year, and gardening has been very limited ever since. I'm still determined that I will do it again in the future. Maybe everything that will be served is from the garden!
Dante, Hyde Park, MA
Posted: 11/25/2012 10:27:49 AM
Jessica, next year will be the year of gardening. This year was a year of cleaning up the new garden and fencing building. My basement storage room needs to be finished by next spring so it can be filled with garden harvest. I'v never tried to have a fall garden but may just have to try it next year.
Nebraska Dave, Omaha, NE
Posted: 11/25/2012 7:03:17 AM
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