Smart Markets: Thanksgiving Tips

The market will be full of all the good ingredients and products you need for your Thanksgiving dinner.

This Week at our Oakton Market
Saturday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
2854 Hunter Mill Rd.
Oakton, VA 22124

This market will be closed the Saturday after Thanksgiving to give our vendors an opportunity to spend time with their families before we head into winter. Last year we did not miss one scheduled market — we should be so lucky this winter.

This Week at the Market

This is one of my favorite markets of the year — the turkeys are delivered, the market is still full of fall’s bounty, and everyone is so enthusiastic about cooking for the coming holiday. At a farmers’ market, we come together to appreciate a strong connection to our historic and cultural food roots — roots that have expanded in recent years to fill our melting pot with new ingredients. We celebrate that diversity in our markets and look forward in the future to bringing you even more choices from more local farmers, graziers, canners and cooks. And we are thankful for it too. Which must be why so many of you are so excited to be at the market at this time of year!

The market will be full of all the good ingredients and products you need for your Thanksgiving dinner. Please stop by the Smart Markets tent for recipes galore!

Here are the two that Annie made last week: Asian glazed carrots and multi-potato puree with broccoli and garlic. Come early for the colorful carrots at Ignacio’s stand, and we will have a new recipe from one of our own shoppers who put Deepa’s Chai Spice to good use in a squash and apple dish.

We also will have some lovely holiday greenery in our market for the next several weeks. Celestun Nursery in Markham, Va., will bring winterberry branches to brighten your home or that of a host or hostess, and Pete Lund will bring evergreen boughs, wreaths, and centerpieces cultivated and created by an Amish community in southern Maryland.

The Tyson family will also sell fresh-cut Christmas trees from West Virginia up the road at the former site of our Reston market at the National Realty building.

From the Market Master

Do you have your list, and are you checking it twice? No, not your Christmas list, but your Thanksgiving grocery list. Whether you are preparing the entire meal yourself for one family or more, or whether, as I do every year, you are contributing to a potluck feast, I thought you might benefit from some sage advice.

If you are planning and preparing the entire meal yourself, buy a bigger turkey than you will need for the day and plan for great leftovers to get you through the next month, when you will be busier than ever with less time than usual to cook up comfort food on the fly. If you are concerned that the extra size will add significantly to the time your oven is devoted to the turkey, remember that the turkey can be completely roasted and carved early in the day. The turkey itself does not have to be hot from the oven; the gravy will warm it up sufficiently. And if you buy a fresh, local, free-range turkey from the farmers’ market, the bird will spend considerably less time in the oven anyway.

We will have handouts this week and next with delicious recipes for kinds of leftovers, so as long as you are dicing, slicing, chopping, mashing and carving, you might as well make enough for a few more meals. Any soup or casserole that you make can be frozen too, so you can bring out that turkey again and again through the holiday season.

Speaking of all that work that goes into the Thanksgiving meal, this month’s Eating Well magazine contains a chart demonstrating that the more cooking you do, the more calories you burn. Using their own Thanksgiving meal menu and Mayo Clinic research, the magazine calculated that you can burn 700 of the slightly more than 1,000 calories that their meal contains just by creating it in your own kitchen. No fair counting as your own workout what your helpers do for you, but it can only help your digestion knowing that the hard work contributed something more than just gluttonous enjoyment.

A family gathering is always a great opportunity to demonstrate how your commitment to eating seasonally and buying locally can result in a delicious meal from soup to nuts. Start with squash bisque, then select from the greens and cruciferous veggies, potatoes and other gorgeous root vegetables, and then for a main course, turkey or another meat from the market. And don’t forget a locally sourced dessert, which this year could include local pears and apples or some lovely black walnuts. You really can make a meal of all-local ingredients with maybe just cranberries and some citrus thrown in for color or acidity.

Whatever else you undertake this Thanksgiving, add something new to the mix and see where it takes you. The kitchen is a wonderful place to experiment, and hardly ever does anything blow up.

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