Give Thanks to Your Local Farmers This Thanksgiving

Christina Gover-O’Donnell, Dietetic Intern

Thanksgiving is one of the most widely anticipated days of the year. During this selfless holiday that celebrates giving, gathering, and sharing, it is my greatest hope to provide you with ideas that will help bring your family and community closer together while also improving health and creating lifelong memories.

The idea of sustainable eating has become an increasingly popular topic for many reasons, but the benefit of familial bonding is rarely discussed. Imagine this: It’s a beautiful autumn day and all of the trees are coated with vibrant orange and red leaves. It’s cool enough that your children or grandchildren need their coats, so you button them up and get them into the car. You take them to your local farm of farmers market, and you spend the afternoon letting them pick out the freshest vegetables for your Thanksgiving dinner. On the way home, you stop at your local bakery and pick out your Thanksgiving dessert. When Thanksgiving finally arrives, you even let the children help cook the foods that they picked out.

So many invaluable things were accomplished in this scenario such as purchasing local foods and supporting local farmers and small business owners, getting the children out of the house and encouraging them to be involved with picking out and cooking wholesome and nourishing foods, creating long lasting family memories, and possibly even creating a new family tradition. In general, eating sustainably is linked with improving the quality of foods that people eat, improving overall health, and benefiting the environment, local farmers, and small business owners. However, the benefits of eating sustainably extend far beyond this because it can be used as an opportunity to bring your family closer together while also encouraging your family members to take an active role in their health and community. What more could we ask for on this holiday of giving thanks than family togetherness, good health, and community support?

Provided below is a delicious “traditional with a twist” cinnamon pecan roasted butternut squash recipe that incorporates local, farm fresh food items:

Cinnamon Pecan Roasted Butternut Squash


    • 1 large farm-fresh butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons local maple syrup
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
    • ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • ¼ teaspoons ground nutmeg
    • 1 cup Fisher Nut pecan halves
    • 2 sprigs rosemary


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
  2. Place butternut squash in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Add olive oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Gently toss to combine.
  3. Place into oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, turning once, until tender. Baking time may vary depending on the thickness of the butternut squash.
  4. Serve immediately, garnished with rosemary, if desired.

Recipe from

Listed below are a variety of places in Farmington, Connecticut where you can purchase locally produced and sustainable food items during this Thanksgiving holiday season:

Local Farmers Markets, Farms, and Bakeries:

  • Sub Edge Farm: Reserve your farm-raised Thanksgiving turkey.
    • Located at 199 Town Farm Road, Farmington, CT 06032
    • Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Jillybean’s Farmstand: Reserve you farm-raised Thanksgiving turkey and choose from a variety of fresh, farm grown vegetables, fresh baked breads and desserts, fresh brown eggs, and more.
    • Located at 172 Scott Swamp Road, Farmington, CT 06032
    • Open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Truffles: This husband-and-wife owned bakery emphasizes eating sustainably by making the effort to purchase locally produced foods. Order ahead or simply stop in and choose from the various pastries and desserts of the day.
    • Located at 767 Farmington Avenue, Farmington, CT 06032
    • Open Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    • References:

Visit the Connecticut Department of Agriculture to search for more farm stands and farm stores by county.

  • Alsaffar, A. A. (2014). Sustainable Diets: The Interaction Between Food, Industry, Nutrition, Health, and the Environment. Food Science and Technology International 22(2): 102-111.