by S. Terry Vandewater

From farm fresh turkeys and hearty root vegetables to tangy cranberries and soothing apple cider, you can use the local bounty of southeastern Massachusetts to deepen the experience of eating during this holiday season. By taking advantage of what is in season and available locally, you support your local farmers and add pleasure and satisfaction to your menus. Try re-thinking some of your holiday favorites in light of seasonally available produce. Infusing some new ingredients or side dishes into old-time favorites can give your holiday meals a new twist, while pleasing the pickiest of palates. Here are a few suggestions and recipes to incorporate local flavor into your holiday cooking.

Let’s talk turkey—there are a variety of turkey farms in the area, including Asack Turkey Farm in West Bridgewater, Bongi’s Turkey Roost in Duxbury, Belwing Acres in Seekonk, Rainbow Turkey Farm and Dufort Farms in Rehoboth, and Web of Life Farm in Carver. Keep your turkey simple, roasting it with butter, fresh herbs, and salt and pepper; craft a stuffing using local bounty–– Island Creek Oysters and last-of-the-season onions, celery, and carrots––and, voilà, you have created a fabulous culinary centerpiece.

Root vegetables add a nice touch to any holiday table—and they’re in season. One of my favorite recipes calls for a combination of carrots, leeks, and parsnips. Parsnips, you say? Ah…the diamonds in the rough of the root vegetable family, parsnips are a creamy-colored relative of the carrot. Cooked just right, parsnips have a sweet and nutty flavor that will have you asking, “Why don’t I eat these more often?” This past year, the culinary world lost the trend-setting Sheila Lukins, co-founder of gourmet food company The Silver Palate. I thought it fitting to share a recipe that was inspired by her The New Basics Cookbook in her honor. This recipe uses an herb butter to enhance carrots, leeks, and parsnips, and it adds some nice color to the plate.

Local cranberries, both abundant and nutritious, are one of the easiest accompaniments to add to your holiday feasts. Cranberries don’t have to be relegated just to Thanksgiving Day either. A fresh cranberry relish adds a burst of tang to meat and poultry dishes anytime. Cranberry Hill Farm, located in Plymouth, provides organic cranberries for your perennial favorite turkey condiment.

When the cleanup is done and the in-laws have retired for the evening, settle into your favorite chair and relax with a cup of Hot Apple Pie. Laced with rum, infused with cinnamon and orange, and topped with butter, this spiked apple cider will leave you with a warm glow as you contemplate the day’s events. Afraid the alcohol might leave you a little fuzzy the next morning? Omit the rum, and you still have a soothing and flavorful drink that whisks away the day’s stress. Plain or spiked, it offers a welcome respite from the hectic pace of the holidays.

Add some pizzazz to the dinner plate and create new favorites this holiday season, even as you deepen your connection to our region and to the people who grow our food.

Asack Turkey Farm
166 South Street
West Bridgewater, MA 02379
(508) 586-2902

Bongi’s Turkey Roost
414 Kingstown Way (Rte. 53)
Duxbury, MA 02331
(781) 585-2392

Belwing Acres
773 Taunton Ave
Seekonk, MA 02771
(508) 336-9142

Cranberry Hill Farm
103 Haskell Road
Plymouth, MA 02360
(508) 888-9179

Dufort Farms
55 Reservoir
Rehoboth, MA 02769
(508) 252-6323

Island Creek Oysters
296 Parks Street
Duxbury, MA 02332
(781) 934-2028

Plato’s Harvest Organic Farm
170 Fuller Street
Middleboro MA 02346
(508) 315-9429

Rainbow Turkey Farm
199 Homestead Ave
Rehoboth, MA 02769
(508) 252-4427

Web of Life Farm
71 Silva Street
Carver, MA 02330
(508) 866-7712

edible SOUTH SHORE extends a special thank you to Marion Crocker for hosting a wonderful holiday feast at her beautiful home in Plymouth, MA.

Recipes from Paula Marcoux, edible South Shore Food Editor:

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