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Sustainably Thankful

The Dickinson College Farm operates a stand at Carlisle's Farmers on the Square.

The Dickinson College Farm operates a stand at Carlisle's Farmers on the Square. Photo by Carl Socolow '77.

Tips for a Sustainable Thanksgiving from the College Farm

by Maureen Moroz ’19

In the spirit of sustainability, a core value of the Dickinson community, the College Farm is offering Dickinsonians a few suggestions to make their Thanksgiving feasts both environmentally friendly and delicious.

"Thanksgiving provides one of many opportunities for us to highlight regional ingredients,” said Jenn Halpin, director of the College Farm. “Investing in local agriculture through direct purchases from the farmers themselves not only works to stimulate the local economy, it inspires the sense of community—something that feels good to be a part of."

Shopping for locally grown food also cuts your carbon footprint by shortening the distance items travel from field to plate. “Most communities offer alternatives to grocery store purchases like turkey and other food items that go into some of our favorite holiday dishes,” Halpin explained.

Farm Education and Outreach Coordinator Lizzie Grabowski shared a cornucopia of helpful web resources for sourcing a more sustainable Thanksgiving feast, including LocalHarvest, Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture and Sustainable Table.

She also recommended a few mouth-watering recipes featuring ingredients grown at farms in the countryside surrounding Carlisle, starting with the main dish, the turkey. Sourcing a turkey from a local farmer and finding out how the animals are treated are always good moves, Grabowski said. “Ask your farmer about heritage breeds and tour their operation if you can,” she said. One example of a local farm selling pasture-raised, GMO-free, antibiotic-free and hormone-free turkeys is Rambling River Pastured in Gettysburg, recommended by Lindsey Lyons, assistant director of Dickinson’s Center for Sustainability Education.

Accompany the turkey on the table with locally sourced stuffed mushrooms or roasted butternut squash. Grabowski suggested mushrooms and honey from Whistleberry Farm in Boiling Springs, garlic cloves, butternut squash and parsley from the College Farm, and cream cheese from Keswick Creamery near Newburg. She also recommended a sweet potato pie that could include College Farm sweet potatoes, eggs from Esh’s Produce and milk from the Gettysburg Creamery. All these farms participate in Carlisle’s Farmers on the Square market. “We guarantee you won’t be thinking about a store-bought pumpkin pie after trying this,” Grabowski said.

Finally, Grabowski recommends telling your guests to bring their own reusable containers and set up a leftover buffet after your Thanksgiving meal. Everyone will leave with a meal to help power them through Black Friday and beyond.

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Published November 19, 2017