For the past couple of years, I've been getting my Thanksgiving turkey at Hemlock Hill Farm. It's even closer to me than BJ's and the turkeys are fresh, tasty and healthy looking -- you can walk around and see the animals, where they live and how they're kept. Hemlock Hill also a farm shop that's open seven days a week all year long. Selling beef, chicken, turkey and eggs all raised right there, The more I hear about the horrors of factory farming, the more important it is to me to know that the animals I'm eating are treated well before they're executed for my table.
Ah, feeling festive yet?
Go over to Hemlock Hill the week of Thanksgiving and it's an orgy of killing. Oh, I know, who wants to think about that? Turkey is tradition! Why should I worry about how it actually ends up on my plate? And, I suppose, if the idea of killing animals to eat them bothers me so much, I should just become a vegetarian, right?
But, here it is, I like eating meat. Not too much and not every day, but I like it. And a Thanksgiving without turkey is, well, just not Thanksgiving to me. However, it bothers me more and more how far away we are from the farm and from nature. Native Americans used to thank the animals they killed for providing them with food and clothing. Today, we just heave a plastic wrapped frozen turkey carcass in our shopping carts without a second thought.
I think it's important that we pay attention to where our food comes from and how it gets to us.
But who has time for this sort of thing? Personally, I know that that there are so many aspects of society that I willingly shut my eyes to in order to get on with my life. You know, the sweatshop conditions in Ipod and clothing factories. The fact that my tax dollars fund endless wars. My ever-growing carbon footprint. I've just got to start opening my eyes somewhere.
For me, I can find the time where food is concerned. Here, what you don't know, really can hurt you. Think of all the food-related recalls where someone actually dies because of food they bought at their local supermarket. And while industrialized agriculture has slashed our food bills, (sirloin steak for $1.99/lb, anyone?) the cost to our health, our environment and to the animals themselves is woefully ignored.
So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want to offer a well-thought out, mindfully procured feast. I want to buy locally grown brussel sprouts, yams and potatoes. (FYI, the Ossining Farmer's Market is open through December 17.)
I want to make pies with fruit from local orchards. [Try Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm (http://www.wilkensfarm.com/) instead of going straight to BJ's.]
I've even just happened upon a local CSA that operates over the winter selling fresh, frozen local produce, (http://www.wintersunfarms.com) to source those traditional Thanksgiving items that aren't in season anymore (like green beans and corn.)
Most of all, though, I want to thank my turkey and promise not to waste any bit of it.