by Laura Herd
Thanksgiving is a day we come together to celebrate the bounties in our life. One of these is the food-rich region we live in. When you make it a local Thanksgiving you won’t have to skimp on anything. From turkeys to produce, craft beers and wine, Traverse City has everything Thanksgiving is made of.
Coming together with family & friends feels even better when you know where your food comes from, and I hope you can use this feature to keep more of your food dollars in our region this season with the sources and recipes I list.
Also be sure to visit Taste the Local Difference for a guide to the farms & farmers in Northern Michigan. Keeping our dollars in our community has incredible benefits and there’s a special feeling in knowing that the bounty of your table came from the place you love!
For most, the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving feast is the turkey, and thankfully there’s still time to put a local bird on your table!
Oryana is the exclusive outlet in TC for Duerksen’s turkeys which are pasture-raised in Mancelona without antibiotics, hormones or GMOs. Pastured turkeys have 100% more Omega-3 fats than conventionally raised birds. They are $3.29/pound and first-come, first served so get there early if you want a specific size! No preorders. Sales start Nov. 22nd.
Burritt’s Fresh Market features free-range turkeys from Biehl’s Circle B Turkey Ranch in Mancelona. Orders can be placed if you have a preferred weight, and they will try to get within 2 lbs. Turkeys are GMO free, $3.09/lb and in the 12-24lb range. They also offer a variety of prepared Thanksgiving dishes like mashed potatoes & sweet potatoes, gravies & stuffing, cranberry sauce & green beans with lemon & parmesan. Call 231-946-3300 for details & ordering.
Thanksgiving began as a harvest celebration, so a great way to get started is to gather some real food that real farmers have harvested. The Village Indoor Farm Market in the Mercato at the Village at Grand Traverse Commons will be overflowing with local produce and goods this Saturday from 10 AM – 2 PM. You will find everything you need to complement your turkey for an incredible Thanksgiving feast!
The market goes on and on through the corridors of the Mercato. I recommend getting there early and planning to be there for long enough to appreciate everything our farmers have worked tirelessly to produce. I put together a list of everything you should be able to expect to find at this Saturday’s market below. If you have a favorite farmer, need a large quantity of something or know there’s something you cannot live without feel free to call the farmers to make special arrangements. They are almost always happy to hear from customers and plan in advance.
Second Spring Farm has a really cool tool that allows you to see their produce availability. 9 Bean Rows is taking special Thanksgiving orders for sides & desserts including delicious brioche rolls available for pre-order and all kinds of other Thanksgiving sides including tart tatin, roasted root vegetables, caramel apple bread pudding, pumpkin cheesecake and bacon corn bread. Yes, you heard that right: BACON corn bread!until the Monday before Thanksgiving .
photo courtesy Growth By The Season
Roasted Root Vegetables
This is an extremely easy way to taste the best of the harvest season. You can use whatever root vegetables you prefer. I like to use Parsnips, Carrots, Turnips, Beets, Onions and Garlic.
Simply cut the vegetables into equal sized pieces and dice the garlic. Some like bite sized, some like larger quarters. Any size is fine as long as they are equal.
Place all of the vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Coat with olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper to taste.
Put ¼ C. of butter on the bottom of a casserole dish dollops are fine. It will melt.
Roast covered at 400 for 20-40 minutes(depending on size) stirring every 10 minutes.
Harvest Herb Stuffing
Toss the following into a large bowl:
2 loaves of your favorite bread cut in 1/2-inch cubes.
2 C. leek (diced)
2 celery stalks (diced)
⅓ C. fresh parsley leaves (minced)
1 tsp. sage (minced)
1 tsp. thyme (minced)
1 lg. garlic cloves (minced)
⅔ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
Mix everything thoroughly together.
Place into a Dutch oven or deep casserole dish. Push the stuffing down enough to remove large areas of air.
Pour 2 cups chicken broth over the stuffing (I make my own and use some of the chicken meat in the stuffing, but if you’re a vegetarian simply use vegetable broth.)
Optional: Add 1 C. dried cherries before mixing it.
Bake 350 for 20-30 min. remove cover bake until golden brown.
1 head buttercrunch lettuce (bite sized)
Layer on top of the salad:
1 sm. red or sweet onion (thinly sliced)
1 med. beet (grated)
3 lg. carrots (grated)
2 med. applies (thinly sliced)
½ C. toasted salted sunflower seeds
1 C. dried cherries
Maple Balsamic Dressing
Smash 2 garlic cloves with the side of the knife to bust the cells and break the flavor out.
Place them in the bottom of your jar or dressing bottle.
¼ C. balsamic vinegar
⅓ C. cider vinegar
1 tsp. Ume plum vinegar
1 tsp. rosemary (thinly diced)
1 tsp. thyme (thinly diced)
2 Tbs. Michigan maple syrup (more or less based on desired sweetness)
add: 1 ¼ C. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Shake extremely well until emulsified.
add: salt and pepper to taste
Here are a few recipes that are focused on foods you can find at the Indoor Market on Saturday.
Also see our feature on chestnuts for some great recipes for this local and seasonal nut!
Thanksgiving Day can often be a long affair, so if you’re drinking alcohol you might want to try starting the day with farmhouse ales or saisons. They are lighter, unique and full of flavor.
Sampler packs of many different beers can also be a fun addition to Thanksgiving while folks are snacking. While you’re cooking you and your guests can enjoy tasting a wide range of new beers and pairing them with all the flavors of the day. The Beverage Company in Traverse City has a large selection of local & Michigan beers and allows you to mix and match bottles. Many of our breweries have growlers available and they make GREAT gifts if you’re attending Thanksgiving at someone else’s house.
Here’s a nice piece on beers for Thanksgiving from the Michigan Beer Hound. They recommend the malty Marzen style Noble Chaos from Short’s Brewery to compliment your turkey. Brewery Terra Firma recently released a Honey Oat Pumpkin Ale and they also have the unusual Honey Rye Beet Wheat which will go great with our roasted vegetable recipe! North Peak has a new Wildernest Harvest Ale on tap. It’s an amber rye brewed with fresh, hand-picked 2013 Cascade hops from Wildernest Farms in Empire. Another great beer for the Thanksgiving table is La Parcela No.1 Pumpkin Ale from Jolly Pumpkin, a Belgian ale with over 35 pounds of pumpkin in every batch! Click that link to see brewer Ron Jeffries talk about how it’s made.
Hard cider is a great way to celebrate the harvest season, and we’re fortunate to have seveeral great cideries in the area. Northern Natural Cider House has a number of hard ciders with delicate herbs added that can provide a really unique flavor pairing, and Left Foot Charley Cinnamon Girl features a whos-who of local apples – Northern Spy, MacIntosh, Winter Bannana, Winesaps, Courtland, Empire and Golden Delicious – aged with Korjinte and Vietnamese Cinnamon for a light apple pie quality!
Every year Black Star Farms makes Bubbly Nouveau – a sparkling wine made specially for the Harvest season. It’s a great way to celebrate, and if you’re traveling for Thankgiving you might want to take your hosts some wine from our Northern Michigan wine country. The talented folks at Michigan By the Bottle wrote a great piece on wines for Thanksgiving that features many of our local wines.
Riesling is our region’s signature wine and as a general rule, it’s a perfect pairing with turkey. Gewurztraminer is another wine that is locally available from Brengman Brothers, Chateau Fontaine and others. While turkey will work with almost any wine, softer and fruitier wines with lower tannins do better with the full range that’s on your typical table.
Find it at the Farmers Market!
- Potatoes (Red, Purple, Yukon Gold, Fingerling)
- Brussel Sprouts
- Butternut squash
- Cabbage, Kohlrabi & Radicchio
- Carrots, Beets, Turnips & Parsnips
- Leeks, Scallions, Onions & Garlic
- Celery Root, Celeriac & Celery
- Kale, Chard and Collards
- Lettuce, Arugala & Spinach
- Pie Pumpkins
Parsley, Sage, Fennel & more
Other Thanksgiving Supplies
Chickens, cheeses, eggs, milk, honey & bread