Our Local Thanksgiving,
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, shared with family and friends. But here I would like to tell you about the food. Out of all the food that was served, I would say 98% was grown locally in Maine with a small percentage from New Hampshire, yet all from farms within 100 miles from our house in York, Maine, where it was enjoyed.
A little history to our Thanksgiving story. My husband, Denny and I have been on a quest for health for the last 30 something years. For many of those years we were vegetarians, and for 7 of last 8 years we were Raw Vegans. This means that we ate only foods in their raw state, and that all the food we ate was a plant source. I learned many delicious recipes and invented them mysel,f and even wrote a book of Raw food recipes. My point being is that we were happy on the raw food diet, completely satisfied and happy. We thought we were doing something important. That was until we saw the movie “Food, Inc.” and then discovered Micheal Pollen’s Omnivore’s Dilemma. The reading list that followed was Nora Gedgaudas’ Primal Body—Primal Mind, then The Vegetarian Myth, by Lierre Keith, followed up with Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price, and, lastly, Deep Nutrition, offered by Catherine and Luke Shannahan. Last January, after reading most of these books and while continuing with the rest, we decided to change our diets. One of the biggest factors in making this decision was that eating only raw food, especially through the winter in Maine, we depended on food being transported 1000’s of miles from places we had never been to and would never hope to go. What were we doing eating food that had travelled that far, depending on petroleum, possibly even wars to get this food to our table. What was I responsible for? So we decided to start eating food that we could grow ourselves, but mostly, food that we could buy from farmers we personally know, who we could have a conversation with about how the animals are fed, how the goats are cared for, what was it like to work the land and love what you do? And if we were buying food from a store, at least the source would be a farm within about 100 miles that we could know by reputation or pictures on a website.
So we just had our Thanksgiving. We have used most of this year developing our diets and the sourcing of our sustenance. On a daily basis, well over 98% of our meals are from local farms—some even in our neighborhood. Breakfast is: 3 eggs from a farm down the street, or even from Trish, who works for me in my home business. These are fried in bacon drippings, from our farmer friend, Ed from Wright’s Haven Farm in Limington, Maine. And of course, a couple of pieces of bacon from Ed’s farm. As we finish our delicious breakfast, our cats greedily wait to lick our plates. From our reading, we learned— and because I have type 1 diabetes, and Denny has hypoglycemia—to both eat a very low carbohydrate diet. Eating close to 100% from local farms can be fairly easy and much easier than if we were looking for ways to make locally sourced muffins, biscuits, pancakes, etc. Then for lunch we usually slurp bone broth-based soup. We read about bone broths in several of our reading list book. Meat cooked on the bone, and broth made from meat on the bone, is where traditional diets get their much needed minerals like iron, calcium, phosophorus, and even unknown substances in the marrow, which promote vigorous health (which I believe helps to prevent Leukemia). We boil these bones in a stockpot for 24 hours in local water we have collected from a nearby mountain spring, the same water we use for drinking. Sometimes the smaller bones become soft enough to chew, and then we benefit from all the minerals in the bones. We add onions, cabbage or other greens when available from our farmers—like kale, or Swiss Chard—which will continue to be available from local farms even in Maine for most of the winter. We are now buying large amounts of cabbage and onions that we can store in the cool basement all winter, which will keep us in veggies all winter.
For supper we usually eat local grass-fed beef liver ‘n onions and local yogurt. For dessert, I actually eat a few tablespoons of local butter, which I may make myself from raw cream that I buy from a local farm. With this butter I mix in the only unlocal superfoods I have yet to give up—powdered colostrum (Surthrival.com), mucuma (for brain health), and powdered stevia (a natural calorie-free sweetener that I order from far away). That’s my cheat from afar. Denny’s is chocolate that I make for my business.
I drink yerba mate and Denny drinks coiffee.
So, back to Thanksgiving I wish I had realized I was going to write this article so I would have taken more pictures. Here’s the menu for Thanksgiving, 2010.
Turkey, from Wright’s Haven Farm in Limington, Maine, delivered to our house, along with cream, liver, ground pork, for our cats and bacon.
Cornmeal, from a Maine farm, bought at Lois’ Natural market in Scarbourough Maine,
Chicken stock made last week from a baked chicken, from Sumner Farm, bought at
the Portland Farmer’s Market,
Onions, from Freedom Farm, Portland Farmer’s Market
Butter, from a farm in New Hampshire, just over the border
Mashed Potatoes from a farm in Maine
Cream from Wright’s Haven
Butter, see above
Salt, Coast of Maine Sea Salt
Rolls, Mom’s recipe, quick surprise rolls with Potatoes
Wheat berries grown on Maine farm, ground into flour in Vita Mix, Thanksgiving
Cream from Wright’s Haven
Yeast, from our local Health Food Store
Swiss Chard and Kale from Brookford farm, Rollingsford, NH, brought by a friend
Pumpkin from Portland Farmer’s Market
Greek yogurt, Swallowtail Farm, Maine
Eggs, Brookford Farm
Stevia, who knows where?
Wheatberries, grown in Maine, ground into flour
Butter, NH farm
Water, Spring in Buckfield, Maine
Beef Stock Vegetable Soup brought by a friend
Beef from a local farm, our friend bought half a cow, made a stock and added local
veggies. It was delicious!
Steamed yellow and red onions from Freedom Farm, from Portland, Maine Farmer’s Market.
Drippings from the roasted Turkey from Wright’s haven, I had spread raw butter from
New Hampshire farm over the turkey before putting it in the oven, it was cooked
and basted for about 3 hours
Cream from Wright’s Haven
Ground wheat berries from Maine farm
Water from the spring
Maine Coast Sea Salt
Morgan’s Cranberry sauce – our friend Morgan made the crranberry sauce from cranberries and apples bought at the Portland, Maine, Farmers Market. She stirred it over a low heat and then added a little stevia. Everyone loved it!
All the food was delicious! Everyone appreciated that we made the effort to have all the food from local farms. It made us feel good that very little fuel had to be used to get the ingredients from across the country. Standing in line at the grocery store, feeling the stress of an awaiting Holiday, is a thing of the past for us. This new local food/local farm sourced paradigm feels amazing and so calming by comparison.
Everyone arrived early and started helping prepare dinner together. We sat around the table, each telling what we were thankful for and it all felt so genuine. We had a few tears, One son, thankful for his girlfriend and her two sons being in his life, one daughter pregnant, due the first of May and thankful for her family and the new member of the family growing in her belly, and our almost 20 year old son, celebrating 2 years of sobriety and being thankful that he CAN be present and feels so loved.
Suggestions for getting through the holiday season, happily, healthy, and the same weight or lower than when the holidays began.
Eat 90-98% from local farms. Make friends with local farmers. Many areas have winter Farmer’s Markets. Ask around, read the paper, look on line.
Restrict all of what you eat to homemade, non-factory food. Trans and fake fats and high-fructose corn sweetener can only be made in a laboratory/factory. Fake foods and additives can be what is making you heavier than you want to be or even ill.
The only sweetener which could possibly be local is Raw Honey. And even that should be limited, as it can cause an unhealthy blood sugar rise. Our next project is growing our own stevia, drying and powdering it. I have been using factory processed stevia for about 15 years, and while it’s great because it has no calories, and also comes from a natural source, I still really can’t trust the manufacturing process!
Remember taking a walk or even a nap is better than eating more that you need!
Aimee Perrin, lives with her husband Dennis, who is a painter, and their 3 cats, who loved the turkey. Aimee owns Aimee’s Livin’ Magic, manufacturing gluten-free, raw and organic snacks and chocolates in her York, Maine home, which sits in front of the scenic headwaters of the York River.