Dessert can wait. The best of humanely-raised main course cuisine.

By: Kristin Evenrud, Grocery Manager and Meat Buyer

Thanksgiving is such a special time. Families and friends gather together and share a meal and traditions and give thanks for just being together.

I recently had a conversation with a couple who spent 22 years living in Alaska. I was surprised to learn that even in remote areas, where the locals eat whale blubber and grocery stores are few and far between, when Thanksgiving rolls around there are houses in the village with tables spread with traditional roast turkey and all the fixings. The community gathers at these houses and they feast. It warms my heart to think about communities gathering and sharing food together.

Here at the Co-op, we order our holiday turkeys in August to guarantee a plentiful supply as the holidays draw near. For some of the best in local or regional, humanely raised, sometimes even organic meat and seafood, check out the Co-op meat cooler and freezers for a great selection.

Turkey
The Oneota Co-op will carry both fresh and frozen turkeys again this year. We are lucky to have two local (within 100 miles as the crow flies) produc­ers supplying us with turkeys. Larry Schultz Organic Farm (Owatonna, MN) and Ferndale Mar­ket (Cannon Falls, MN).

Larry Schultz Organic farm is a small family farm where Larry and Cindy have always operated organi­cally, certifying their land and poultry in 1998. The Oneota Co-op has carried Larry Schultz Organic Farms turkey, chicken and eggs for many years. We know from experience Schultz Organic turkeys have thick breasts with a deep, delicious flavor.

Ferndale Market turkey is raised by John Peterson and his family. The farm was started 70 years ago by John’s grandparents, Fern and Dale Peterson. Their turkeys are free range during the warm months and all of their turkey is naturally processed, so there are no artifi­cial ingredients or antibiotics – just delicious turkey. In addition, Ferndale Market is strongly committed to the sus­tainability movement and sells their product locally to reconnect consumers with high-quality, local agriculture. (I ate Ferndale turkey last year with my loved ones up North in Minnesota and it was delicious!)

The Oneota Co-op is committed to bringing you the best turkey, either free-range & antibiotic-free or certified organic. SIGN UP EARLY to reserve your bird, so you can be assured your Thanksgiving and Christmas meals will be tasty and wholesome this year.
Turkey sign-up will be available starting in early September. These birds go fast, so be sure to get your order in early!
Larry Schultz $3.59/lb
Ferndale $2.39/lb

Ham
We love Beeler’s ham! Beeler’s breed Duroc hogs and raise them using their trademarked Haluka method. This means no antibiotics are given to the animals, they are vegetarian-fed, and given plenty of open space to grow. Beeler’s ham contains NO nitrates or nitrites, casein, or gluten. It’s always good to remember that animals raised in confinement and typically given antibiotics store the nasty stuff in their fat. When you eat antibiotic-raised meat, it gets stored in you.

Lamb
Try leg of lamb instead of the traditional fare. We carry lamb raised by Tom Beard from Decorah. These animals are raised on organic grassland and hay and are given plenty of room to roam. Especially succulent and juicy when braised and then slow roasted with herbs such as mint or thyme. Serve with garlic roast mashed potatoes and chickpea chermoula. Delicious.

Fish
Another great holiday meal alternative is fish. The Oneota Co-op features frozen whole salmon fillets and 6-8 oz pieces from MPLS fisherman, Roger Pietran. This salmon is always wild caught from Bristol Bay, AK and adheres to the standards of the Marine Stew­ardship Council (www.msc.org). The salmon we have in stock from this fishing season is beautiful, red and firm. I had a customer visiting from Seattle recently who came to find me and tell me how fantastic our salmon was. He was surprised our fish was as tasty as what he usually buys from the fresh fish market! My all-time favorite salmon recipe is simple: butter, minced garlic, salt and pepper, splashed with lemon juice. Rub the fillet with butter (or olive oil), splash with lemon (fresh is the best), and rub on the garlic, salt and pepper. Next, put the fillet skin down on a hot grill, flip in 5-10 minutes and cook until flaky. Gar­nish and serve with boiled new red potatoes, steamed green beans, and a chewy loaf of French bread.

Beef
Though not thought of as the traditional Midwestern holiday meal, beef is always delicious. From a slow-cooked roast to a simmering pot of stew, beef can be an easy alternative. We carry beef from Rock Cedar Ranch and Grass Run Farms. All the cows are out on pasture and are antibiotic free and added-hormone free. Rock Cedar Ranch finishes their beef with organic corn for a superb marbling. If the holidays take a casual turn; try hamburgers stuffed with cranberries, jalapeños and raw milk cheddar, serve with waffle fries and green beans.

Herb-Roasted Turkey 
recipe from <allrecipes.com>
Ingredients:
1 (12 pound) whole turkey
3/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups water
Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Clean turkey (discard giblets and organs) and place in a roasting pan with a lid. Pat the skin dry with a paper towel.
In a small bowl, combine olive oil, garlic powder, dried basil, ground sage, salt, and black pepper. Using a basting brush, apply the entire mixture to the out­side of the uncooked turkey. Pour water into the bottom of the roasting pan (do not pour over the turkey) and cover.
Bake for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, or until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh measures 180 degrees F (82 degrees C). Remove bird from oven and allow to stand for about 30 minutes before carving. Letting the turkey rest for at least 30 minutes prior to carving allows the juices to disperse throughout the meat.