First of all, I hope your holiday turkey went over well at Thanksgiving. Here is a picture of ours:
Don't I look proud? I was so proud. And terrified! But it all came together. I cooked way too much food. I used this recipe from the New York Times, and it made for a delicious bird with very little work. I also used their "make ahead" gravy recipe. I had never ever ever made gravy before, mostly because my mother hates making gravy so I thought it must be hard. But I think if you make it ahead it's pretty easy. Plus you use your giblets, and waste not want not. I simmered the turkey neck and giblets with a bay leaf in some boxed vegetable broth as my gravy base. From there I just followed the NY Times recipe. Very simple! Those giblets gave the gravy a ton ( just wrote a "tom" mistakenly and considered keeping it. Punny) of flavor. I also made cornbread sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, butternut squash soup...way too much. I bought just about everything except the green beans from the farmers market too. It cost an arm and a leg, I'm not going to lie. However it made me feel better about the gluttony to know that at least the food had been raised/harvested humanely. Plus, the taste! Oh I almost forgot, I also made mini apple and pumpkin pies in a muffin tin. You don't have to change the recipe at all, just use the muffin tin instead of a pie pan. I cut the pie shapes out using a martini glass, tucked them in the muffin tin, filled them, and used a cookie cutter to cut a shape for the pie tops. TOO CUTE! NEVER EATING NORMAL SIZED PIE EVER AGAIN! that is a lie.
I can also tell you that Head Start farmers market project got refunded for next year! This means that I will be doing cooking demonstrations for the Head Start parents at the West End market all this winter, and then when the farm table opens again at the Head Start next summer I will move my cooking demos over to that location. New this year I will also be teaching container gardening to the families this spring. I am excited to learn more about using intergenerational gardening to teach nutrition and increase food security. I have seen that kids will at least try to eat vegetables that they grow, so perhaps these small container gardens can lead to bigger changes down the road for our participants. If you have any ideas for intergenerational gardening activities, please share them!
Finally, I wanted to tell you about a community garden project I am working on in Christiansburg, Virginia with the local New River Valley Health District's WIC program.
The WIC program is building a community garden on land right next to their building, which is also next to the Department of Social Services, a Federally Qualified Health Center, and a Corilion family clinic. We will be using the garden as a site for nutrition education, but even more exciting, we will be piloting a "garden prescription" program with the surrounding clinics to recruit WIC eligible families to the WIC program. This garden prescription will be a riff on Wholesome Wave's Fruit and Veggie Rx program. Patients will be directed to the garden, given a tasting tour of the site, and offered the chance to enroll in a half or whole share in the garden, which will give them fresh produce in return for hours worked at the site. I am so thankful to be able to live in an area that allows pilots like this to happen with relatively little muss and fuss. This isn't New York City! Check out the photo above for a glimpse of another reason I am thankful for this area- a bounty of gracious volunteers from a variety of sources! I can't wait to see what this project develops into. Think spring!