Farmers markets are a great way to get locally grown, environmentally friendly food during the warmer months, but as the days get colder, roadside markets close up shop for the year.
But did you know that, as Thanksgiving approaches, buying local is still an option for the centerpiece of Thanksgiving dinner?
This year, instead of buying an unnaturally huge, white turkey from the grocery store freezer aisle, you could get a "heritage" turkey from a local farm and enjoy not only a more environmentally friendly Thanksgiving, but a more flavorful one, too.
Heritage turkeys are the "original" breeds of turkeys — turkeys like people used to eat at Thanksgiving, before the meat industry began breeding gigantic, white turkeys that are often so heavy they can't even move enough to reproduce on their own.
These original turkeys have more colorful and more flavorful meat that's much more worth eating, and since local farms raise them, you can get one for your Thanksgiving feast that hasn't been transported halfway across the country by fossil fuels.
That's something both the Earth and your local agricultural economy can give thanks for.
There’s even a heritage turkey breed — Bourbon Red — that is native to Kentucky.
It’s actually named for Kentucky’s Bourbon County.
Websites like localharvest.org or local processing facilities like Marksbury Farm in Garrard County can help you find locally raised heritage turkeys for sale this year.
I think it makes sense to celebrate this Thanksgiving with a tasty example of what our local farmers are capable of producing, rather than with a cookie-cutter bird from a meat factory somewhere hundreds of miles away.
I cannot wait to try cooking my own heritage turkey this Thanksgiving, and I'll be sure to let you know how it goes.