Stacked pumpkins in front of a hay bale

Celebrating the year’s crops with a Thanksgiving feast has been a tradition for over 400 years. Likely in 1621, individuals fed their families and communities by growing vegetables in the field. This past summer, Illinois residents went to farmer's markets despite pandemic conditions as America continues to demand locally sourced vegetables and increased access to healthy food.  

Beets, parsnip, squash and apples

Being thankful for our families has a new meaning this year, and the feast should be spectacular. Let’s add a sometimes-missing ingredient this year: the love that a local grower, baker, or cook puts into their product.

My role in the Thanksgiving meal is to procure ingredients and I challenge myself to buy mostly fresh local ingredients for the big meal.