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Talking Turkey 2: Tips for the Perfect Thanksgiving – Hosting & Sustainability

We hope you’re getting ready for a fabulous Thanksgiving! To follow up our post with tips for a terrific Thanksgiving meal (and drinks), here are a few more helpful ideas from our team to help you plan a stellar, stress-free, sustainable event. Feel free to post a comment to share your tips for celebrating, too!

Rachel Huntley, Event Coordinator

As the event coordinator extraordinaire, can you share a few tips for hosting a stress free, memorable Thanksgiving?

There are several ways to save stress and time without compromising the quality of your food or your experience. First, keep guests happy before the dinner with light and easy appetizers and a little activity to buy you more time to organize your thoughts and the meal without pressure. Try putting out Rogue Creamery Blue Cheese or Sharp Cheddar, wines and beer for guests to do their own tasting and pairing. Toasted artisan baguettes with garlic and butter are a good addition. They’re easy palate pleasers, and even better with local tapenades and spreads such as those from Rising Sun Farms next door in Talent, OR. Offer paper and pens to encourage note taking and discussion.

Whenever we organize an event at Standing Stone we do as much prep work ahead of time as possible, while ensuring freshness and quality. Prep vegetables, grains and legumes beforehand, store them in the fridge and finish on Thanksgiving Day. Many dishes can be prepared a day or two before, such as cranberry sauce or your favorite casserole. Make Thanksgiving a celebration week and enjoy relaxed cooking while focusing on the holiday’s joy, gratitude and togetherness.

Brandon Schilling, Sustainability Coordinator

As our sustainability coordinator, what simple tips can you share with folks to eliminate waste and have a positive environmental impact during the celebration?

Thanksgiving traditionally involves sharing a home cooked meal with family and friends, though some eat out or purchase prepared foods. There are ways to make all of these options more environmentally-friendly. Sustainable Thanksgivings ensure that we have more to come, so it’s important to do what we can.

Use reusable dinnerware for the meal (plates, utensils, beverage glasses, napkins, etc.) and storing leftovers. Reuse foil from baking dishes to cover leftovers as well.

For those celebrating at a favorite eatery, walk, bike or carpool. Pick a venue close by, too, as you’ll save fuel and might cross paths with friends. The restaurant’s practices shape its sustainability impacts so pick accordingly, such as selecting one that offers local and organic foods and uses reusable tableware. Bring your own reusable containers if you think you’ll have leftovers to-go.

If you’re staying home and hosting, invite guests through e-vites or phone. You might even try to arrange a carpools among guests or encourage them to walk or bike, which will help shake that post-meal trance and promote a good night’s sleep.

Rogue Valley Brambles Farm in Talent, OR

Your meal choices have a big impact. If you’re planning on serving turkey, choose one that’s local and organic, or at least antibiotic- and hormone-free. Grass-fed heritage turkeys are an especially tasty and smart choice. Your quest to find the freshest, local bird may bring you to a local farm, perhaps harvesting a turkey yourself, quite a memorable experience!  Stock up on local produce to enjoy what’s fresh and in season, such as sunchokes, squash, brassicas, root vegetables and more. Look for regionally-grown grains, legumes and dairy products as well. Try challenging yourself to stick to what our predecessors would have eaten for the first Thanksgivings.

Shop as locally as possible and look for items with minimal or no packaging, or packaging that can be recycled. Buy baking supplies, nuts and grains and in bulk. Gently remind guests not to waste food and drink by taking only what they’ll finish. Compost kitchen trimmings and any food left on guests’ plates.

Enjoy, and don’t forget to give thanks for the plants and animals that are our sustenance, and for our food security!

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