Hosting a green Thanksgiving this year – Part 1

The holidays are a time to get together with family and to enjoy some much-needed down time. But there’s another aspect we look forward to – the amazing food.

Since my focus is on the green factor, let’s explore what having a green Thanksgiving might be – filled many of the yummy flavors and smells you’re used to, with some new traditions and different twists along the way.

Here are some tips, suggestions and some new ideas to try out this year that will make your Thanksgiving celebration a little more eco-friendly.

Buy as local as possible this holday season

Americans throw away 15 to 20 percent of the food we buy. When it comes to Thanksgiving, we overeat with gusto. Why not consider buying and making less this year? That would mean a slightly smaller turkey, fixing a bit less of everything – even perhaps a few less pies. It sounds almost like heresy to say, but with the growing obesity crisis in this country, it may be a smart, healthy step to take.

Another thought – buy as locally and as organically as possible. Organic products may be somewhat more expensive, but they often have more of the vitamins and nutrients you need without the pesticides and chemicals you don’t. And buying locally sourced food supports our local economy.

If you’re planning on a turkey, consider an organic one. Most top groceries will order and stock them for Thanksgiving. Just be sure to put your order in ahead of time.

Another holiday favorite is stuffing. This year opt for one of the best from Olivia’s Crouton Company of Vermont.

Everything they make is all natural and some of their products are certified organic. With two scrumptious stuffings to choose from – Traditional and their new Cornbread stuffing – you’ll find something for everyone. They even grow their own certified organic wheat.

These stuffings from Olivia's Crouton Company are easy to make and delicious too

If you aren’t doing turkey, choose from their five varieties of delectable croutons:

  • Organic Garlic & Herb
  • Butter & Garlic
  • Multi-grain & Garlic
  • Parmesan & Garlic
  • Cheddar & Dill

With no artificial flavors, no high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils or preservatives, all you’ll get is fabulous flavor  (I’ve sampled then) and plenty of happy smiles.

How about a radical but truly “green” idea. This year, start a new tradition and forgo the turkey entirely. Adopt a turkey instead!

Consider adopting a turkey this year instead of serving one!

The Adopt-A-Turkey Project – who’s spokesperson this year is Ellen DeGeneres – is run by the Farm Sanctuary, which houses around 1,000 animals in their two locations – in upstate New York and near Orland, California. For $30 – less than the cost of a prepared cold bird – you can sponsor a live turkey at the Sanctuary.

It’s not about giving anything up, says Meredith Turner, a Farm Sanctuary spokesperson. “It’s about celebrating the holiday in a way that’s better aligned with your own values.”

Turkeys are raised in abominable conditions – abused, mutilated, grossly overcrowded, never seeing daylight until they’re taken for what’s too often inhumane slaughter. There are currently no laws protecting turkeys.

“The Project offers a compassionate alternative to Thanksgiving,” said Turner.

Learn more about the Adopt-A-Turkey Project and find some yummy turkey-free recipes.

Opt to serve organic wine this year.

California’s known for its spectacular wines and a number of them are quality organic wines. Mendocino County is home to organic family-run vineyards, including:

There are also organic California wines from the sustainably-farmed Wente Vineyards, located near the San Francisco Bay area.

There’s a lot more to preparing for a successful green Thanksgiving celebration. My next Thanksgiving-related column will offer more details about Farm Sanctuary – including their annual Celebration for  the Turkeys event – as well as on stylish, natural decorating, dealing with what’s leftover and some great after-dinner options.

Having an eco-friendly Thanksgiving this year could just be a special new tradition you and your family will really appreciate.


One Response

  1. Thanks for all these wonderful tips! We’ve decided to make everything from scratch this year … zero processed foods. That’ll mean making our own bread for croutons … a first for us! Our croutons won’t go into a turkey … we’re opting for a seitan loaf.

    Can’t wait for your next post!

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