Locally sourced food is vital to Boulder, home to one of the best farmers markets in the nation. But as the temps drop, it can get a little trickier to eat farm-to-table style. That goes for a totally local Thanksgiving, too.
But it can be done, with some creativity and if you know where to go.
If you want to know exactly where your Turkey Day meal came from, from the drumsticks all the way down to the mashed potatoes, here’s how to do it.
The final day of 2018’s Boulder County Farmers Market is Nov. 17, the Saturday before Thanksgiving, which means you can do one final grocery run then. Get local, in-season produce, meat and products from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on 13th Street between Canyon and Arapahoe in Boulder, and from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Boulder County Fairgrounds, 9595 Nelson Road in Longmont. (Boulder’s Wednesday night markets ended early October.)
The trick: Some local farms are short on produce, and the frost in October took out some of the stock. Kilt Farm in Longmont, for example, was already sold out mid-October.
Another hurdle is the fact that many other local farms (like the North Field Farm in Lafayette) are CSAs (that stands for community supported agriculture). These farms mainly provide produce to their members. While membership is typically open to the public and not too expensive, you buy in at the beginning of the year and might not be able to get in on the food this late in the game.
Black Cat Farm
However, the certified organic Black Cat Farm just outside of Boulder plans on having a stand at the final market. This market is always packed with people stocking up for the holidays.
As a bonus: Nearly all local produce will stay ripe and fresh for weeks after purchase, if not months, according to the farm. So even if you can’t stand waiting until the last minute to plan your menu, there’s a good chance you can hit up the stands a few weeks before T-Day and the produce you buy will be fine.
You’ll likely be able to find the following produce at Black Cat’s farm stand: potatoes, carrots, onions, beets, turnips, parsnips, a huge variety of squash, an assortment of greens and likely both celery and celery root.
Veggies aren’t the only thing you can get from this farm. Black Cat also raises two kinds of sheep, two kinds of pigs, chickens and geese. The farm sells a variety of pork cuts from their pigs, including ham raised in Boulder County on organic and biodynamic crops in the field and kitchen scraps. The animals at this humane farm are treated like little kings and queens (tour the farm and you can see for yourself). Even more, the pigs are a rare heritage breed; when chef Eric Skokan began raising them about eight years ago, there were only about 15 in the world.
Today, you can buy the meat for $9 a pound.
Fun fact: If you don’t feel like cooking but still want a local Thanksgiving dinner, every year, the Skokans throw a large Thanksgiving feast at the restaurant, Black Cat. It features all Thanksgiving favorites, plus more, and much of the food comes straight from the farm. Contact the restaurant for more info and to reserve a spot.
You can also shop by ingredient. Here’s a quick guide to help you locate what you need for your Thanksgiving dinner.
- 63rd Farm, 3796 63rd St., Boulder: You can order a pasture-raised, non-GMO-fed turkey for $7 per pound. Although this farm is CSA-centric, non-members can order turkeys, and word is, a few are still available.
- Jacob Springs Farm, 7602 Arapahoe Road, Boulder: This organic farm specializes in grass-fed proteins and sells Thanksgiving turkeys for $6 a pound. A typical turkey is 18 to 20 pounds. Last check, they still had some turkeys left.
- Blackbelly, 1606 Conestoga St., Boulder: Blackbelly is a local restaurant and whole-animal butcher shop selling grass-fed, organic turkeys pasture-raised in Boulder County. Birds typically weigh 14-18 pounds. You can also reserve other meat (dry-aged steaks, family-style roasts, whole and half animals, specialty charcuterie and in-house salumi) with a deposit and 48-hour minimum notice. Blackbelly is the only facility in BoCo licensed to make its own cured meats. Animals are raised on friends’ ranches and well cared for.
- Long Shadow Farm, 101 Bothun Road, Berthoud: This farm in Larimer County, not far from Longmont, sells pasture-raised turkeys every year. Most are conventional, with a small number of organic birds. Conventional turkeys cost $4.50 a pound, whereas organic are $7.50 a pound.
Long Shadow has already sold out of most of its larger birds but you can still buy smaller turkeys (8 pounds or less; you can order multiples). Due to a house fire, this farm lost all of its produce, so turkey is all that’s available. The heritage breed hens are processed the weekend before Thanksgiving.
- McCauley Family Farms, 9421 N. 63rd St., Longmont: If you can’t get (or don’t want to get) a turkey, McCauley Farms sells pasture-raised whole chickens for $8 a pound. Most weigh around 3 pounds.
- Settembre Cellars, 1501 Lee Hill Road, Unit 16, Boulder: Settembre Cellars is Boulder’s own winery, producing wine from 100 percent Colorado-grown grapes since 2007.
- Decadent Saint, 1501 Lee Hill Drive in Boulder: This Boulder distillery makes yummy cocktail mixers, makes wines and reserve wines. Don’t miss the What We Love The Winery Chardonnay.
- BookCliff Vineyards, 1501 Lee Hill Road, Unit 17: Bookcliff is another Boulder-based wine-maker — and a force to reckon with. It boasts 17 gold and double medals and best of shows for its wines, making it one of Colorado’s most notable wineries. Bookcliff makes 10 wines.
Head to any of the local pumpkin patches to get your pumpkins and squash. Here are some tips on how to pick a pumpkin.
Colorado is potato heaven. This state is the second-largest potato region in the country, and Colorado has more than 70 different kinds of potatoes. The biggest region for Colorado potatoes is the San Luis Valley in southwestern Colorado, but a ton also come from Greeley.
Needless to say, it’s easy to get local potatoes. You can usually find potatoes at many Boulder area farms, including McCauley Family Farms in Longmont. This organic farm also sells at the farmers markets in Boulder and Longmont.
Isabelle Farm, 1640 Baseline Road in Lafayette, also grows potatoes. The farm stand is open six days a week year-round from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. In addition, Isabella’s Farm usually has bread, pumpkins, salad greens, garlic, winter squash, pumpkins, cider and gourds.
Bakeries sell a variety of locally made bread. Here are a few.
- Rudi’s Bakery: You can find this line in just about any grocery store. Rudi’s makes organic bread and gluten-free products, right here in Boulder.
- Great Harvest Bread Co.: Great Harvest, 2525 Arapahoe Ave., has been making bread using traditional methods for more than three decades. It fresh-mills its whole grain flour daily and bakes from scratch
- Breadworks Bakery and Cafe: Breadworks, 2644 Broadway, Boulder, makes award-winning, organic, artisan bread, plus other pastries, all from scratch.
Isabelle Farm, 1640 Baseline Road in Lafayette, should have sweet corn in season. This family-run, certified organic farm grows more than 80 types of produce and grains and its farm stand is open year-round daily from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. through Dec. 22. (It takes a short break then until Jan. 5.)
While there, Isabelle Farm also sells Christmas trees, tea and wreaths in the winter, so get a local tree to pop up the day after T-Giving, too.
Green bean casserole is a classic Thanksgiving side dish, and you can get local ones at McCauley Family Farms. Also stock up on beets, carrots and dry beans, if your recipes call for them. Sunseed Farm, a small family farm in Boulder County, also typically has green beans this time of year.
Craving more veggie sides? Brussels are a great, healthy dish to add to the table, and you can score locally grown ones at Cure Organic Farm, 7416 Valmont Road in Boulder. The on-site farm store is open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekends. While here, also ask about fresh herbs and fresh flowers (for your centerpiece), soap (for your bathroom), apples (for your pie), pears and onions. The store is open through December.
If you don’t want to make your own pie using locally grown apples or pumpkins, you can order a pre-made pie to go at one of Boulder’s bakeries. Here are two highlights to consider.
- My Mom’s Pie, 201 Murray St., Unit C, Niwot: Enjoy homemade pies made with local fruit and a four-generation family recipe. The pie menu this fall includes pumpkin, pumpkin praline, apple, pecan, bourbon pecan and chocolate pecan. This shop delivers inside Boulder County and can ship nationwide. Ask about organic, gluten-free and sugar-free pies.
- Shamane’s Bake Shoppe, 2825 Wilderness Place, Unit 800, Boulder: Shamane’s has a special Thanksgiving menu featuring traditional pie flavors along with a mix of other flavors and savory pies, quiches, rolls and breads. Flavors vary by season but may include apple, apple wildberry, pear cranberry, sweet potato chocolate ginger, maple pecan, pumpkin and banana cream.
The Whole Meal
If you don’t want to cook but you still want a meal with Boulder ties, order your dinner from Cured. You can pick it up or have it delivered to your door. Here’s what Cured’s special Thanksgiving menu includes:
- Organic turkey brined for $6.99 a pound (between 14 and 19 pounds); must pre-order by Nov. 10. Don’t forget to add the house-made gravy.
- For a smaller appetite, order a duet of free-range poussin (lovebirds), stuffed with herbs and spices and ready to be roasted at home ($25 for two).
- Spiral sliced ham: $90 for about 9 pounds.
- Stuffing made with lemon rosemary crown bread, apples, walnuts, celery, onion and sage. Prices for sides and salads vary by size.
- Twice-baked duck fat mashed potatoes.
- Organic cranberry compote.
- Roast organic beets.
- Various salads, such as carrot salad tossed with lemon, dijon, parsley and toasted pine nuts.
- A cheese and charcuterie board.