Giving thanks in Durham, NC

I’m taking a departure from talking about science to post about one of my other passions: food.

One of the best things about living in the South’s tastiest town is the wealth of delicious local food.  Especially at this time of year, when I find myself cooking a lot of delicious fall foods for potlucks and holiday parties, I’m happy that I can ride my bike to the local butcher, get fish delivered fresh from the NC coast as part of our community supported fishery share, and get weekly fresh, beautiful veggies from the awesome Dave at Dig It Farm.

Like most of you, I’m starting to think a lot about the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.  This year, I’m sharing the day with my awesome lab mate and her family (unfortunately going home for the holiday every year is just a little too much to handle). I’m going to spare myself an hard-out calculation of the food miles for our dinner, but I have thought a bit about it, and I just want to share the profiles of some of our dining highlights this year:

  • Turkey – So this is my first year in charge of the turkey (and I’m hitching my wagon to Alton Brown’s star; steer me right, Alton!)  Our turkey is coming from Green Button Farm in Bahama, NC (a mere 14 miles from home).
  • Pecan Pie – I’m also in charge of the pecan pie.  I helped my mom with the pie as a kiddo, but I’m excited to hit up the Durham Farmers’ Market for some local pecans from the Sweetwater Pecan Orchard (in Siler City, NC).
  • Cranberry sauce – Well, there’s no getting these berries local, so our miles take a bit of a jump here.  Cranberries from my home state of Wisconsin come from just over 1000 miles from Durham (using the Warrens Cranberry Festival as an estimate of provenance). [Yes, I know that most cranberries come from Massachusetts, but I’m throwing this bone to Wisco.]
  • Dinner rolls – These clover-leaf rolls were (and are!) one of the things I looked forward to most for Thanksgiving. This year, I’m hoping to find some locally-grown and -milled flour to make them with. (Asheville, home of Carolina Ground, is 225 miles from Durham, while Lindley Mills in Graham, NC, is only 30 miles away)

What are your favorite Thanksgiving foods, and where do they come from?