Eating local: Thanksgiving feast straight from the farm

November 2014 Posted in Food & Drink
Carl Buchholz raises several turkey varieties.

Carl Buchholz raises several turkey varieties.

By Melissa Wagoner

The traditional Thanksgiving dinner I ate growing up is similar to the one served on tables throughout the country. Mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, cranberry sauce shaped like a can, stuffing made from torn slices of Wonder Bread and a Butterball turkey straight from the supermarket deep freeze. I have fond memories of this meal and have cooked it many times myself but I have come to realize that it lacks the base upon which Thanksgiving was established; the celebration of the local harvest.

Living in Silverton, I have discovered so much food grown, made or raised locally. Thanksgiving is a unique opportunity to look at what is available and give thanks for it by supporting local farms.

Most meals start with beverages. Wine and beer, two of the most common locally sourced items, are easily obtained.

Seven Brides Brewing and Vitis Ridge are two very accessible options. Found at the Seven Brides Tasting Room in Silverton, Vitis Ridge wines can be purchased by the bottle and Seven Brides beer by the bottle or growler.

But beer and wine are not the only local beverages. Mount Angel Brewing Co. offers a wide variety of sodas made with ingredients such as hazelnuts and Marion berries. They are available purchase at stores as well as online.

For the main dish, the turkey, Buchholz and Son Farms, family owned and operated for the past 50 years outside of Mount Angel, raises several turkey varieties. Carl Buchholz, who recently left a job at Intel in Portland in order to return to farming with his father, makes a point of treating his animals well, giving them high quality feed and allowing them room to roam.

“My father’s model was, you raise them and take them to auction and that’s a tough model to keep unless you feed poor feed,” Buchholz said.

Local-origin dining

GeerCrest Farm
Goat cheese and yogurt
12390 Sunnyview Rd. NE, Salem

Buchholz and Son Farm
Turkeys, chickens and eggs

Fisher Ridge Farm
Ham, bacon and chicken

Esotico Pasta
Flavored artisanal pastas
4177 Cascade Highway North East, Silverton

Vegetarian Meat Alternative
Sorta Sausage
Vegetarian ground meat,
sausage and burger alternatives

Arrowhead Wild Rice Company
12265 West Church Rd. NE, Mount Angel

Side Dishes
Diggin’ Roots Farm
Call or email for a list
of available produce

Gardenripe CSA
Email for a list of available produce

Bread and Rolls
The Gathering Spot
Bread, rolls, desserts, catering
106 North First St., Silverton

Mount Angel Brewing Company
Sodas featuring local flavors
buy the pony keg, full keg, and bottle

Seven Brides Brewing
Growler refills and bottled beer
990 North First Street, Silverton

Pie and Cranberries
Willamette Valley Pie Company
Pies, frozen fruit, and cranberries
2994 82nd Avenue North East, Salem

A savvy business man, Buchholz is on the cutting edge of the farm-to-table movement and is able to market his animals directly to restaurants and families by targeting those who care about how the animals are raised. He believes that quality, local meat doesn’t have to come with an enormous price tag; his heritage turkeys go for around $6 a pound, far less than the average market price.

“I could get eight bucks a pound but I wouldn’t want to do that,” Buchholz said.

Although turkey is the tradition in many homes, ham is another common choice. Fisher Ridge Farm, outside of Silverton, raises pigs and has pork packages, all including a ham as well as sausage that can be used in stuffing.

If meat is not a part of your diet, Esotico Pasta might be the ticket. Esotico offers a variety of handmade, artisan pastas made with fresh local ingredients.

Rice is another option and one of only two rice farms in Oregon is right here in Mount Angel. Arrowhead Wild Rice grows 50 acres of organic wild rice which can be used as a main dish in a hearty risotto or as a side in a rice-based stuffing.

Those looking for a meat substitute for a traditional recipe can turn to chef Molly Ainsley’s Sorta Sausage which contains no animal products and no GMOs.

Vegetables side dishes are easy to find. Winter squash and greens grow in abundance on farms including Diggin’ Roots Farm in Molalla and Gardenripe CSA in Silverton. Both divide their crop between their community supported agriculture (CSA) customers before marketing to the public, but they send out weekly emails about available produce.

“It is likely that we’ll have a large variety of winter squash, garlic, onions, shallots, leeks, and greens but I don’t want to guarantee anything at this point,” Sarah Brown, owner of Diggin’ Roots farm said.

Another farm still in full-swing this time of year is GeerCrest Historical Farm. GeerCrest raises milk goats and sells homemade goat cheese and yogurt which are not only delicious in appetizers and soups, but help support the farm and its numerous educational programs.

Lastly, no holiday dinner is complete without dessert. Willamette Valley Pie Co. – which makes so many pies it’s in their name – offers everything from the classic apple to a pumpkin chiffon.

“We’re farmer owned (we’re owned by one third generation farm family), non-GMO (we source no GMO ingredients), we use Shepherd’s Grain Flour (no till, sustainably farmed wheat from the Spokane Valley), locally grown berries, handmade (literally), no starch, no precooked anything, and no preservatives. Just flour, fruit and sugar, that’s it,” Jeff Dunn of Willamette Valley Pie Co. said.

They also offer frozen fruit for those who would like to make their own pies and cranberries for the cranberry sauce.

This year I’m breaking with family tradition and going back to the basics: a farm-raised turkey, vegetables from the garden, fresh baked bread and cranberry sauce that isn’t shaped like a can. A meal I can be thankful for and proud of.

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