Thanksgiving…just saying the name makes me slow down and think about what I am saying. It is not a word that speeds off the tongue; it requires a little effort and thought. Thanksgiving was, as all the major holidays were, important on our farm when I grew up. I hope to keep them special here at Green Door Gourmet as well as I watch our patrons’ families grow and our grandchildren come along. Knowing Thanksgiving is upon us makes me keenly aware a long needed break from daily farming is here and that mother earth is ready for a respite now that her bounty has been shared. Now here is a little trip down memory lane.
Growing up near a small town brings rituals and traditions. Every Saturday, my father and all of us kids went to town to the grocery store. Mom stayed home, I think more for a break from dad and 5 kids than the Saturday housework that was always on her list to do. For many years the small town grocer was Roy and Troy’s then later H&H Grocery. My cousins, Roy and Troy Carpenter, ran the former until they retired. We went there for kitchen staples: flour, sugar, things that we did not grow on the farm. There was always a treat for us kids as well. I got to sit on the edge of the shelf that held packets of flour and cornmeal and enjoy a moonpie and a carton of milk. Miss Beaulah would always fix me up and that treat is still today a guilty pleasure when I am homesick for my childhood. I was thrilled to get to sit there and visit with all the folks that stopped to talk to Daddy and I surely didn’t dare go off anywhere.
We always came in the back door, down a steep step of stairs through a darken store room and emerged right beside the meat counter. Dad would assume his “resting spot” which was at the end of the refrigerated meat and deli case. He would lean against that case (perfect height if you were 6 foot 5”) and he would proceed to “hold court”. Saturday morning was the day the entire town shopped for groceries back then: it seemed and you took your time and wandered through the store, looking for bargains and special things, but also visiting with family and friends while catching up on the news and the gossip! This was before the days of Winn Dixie and Harris Teeter, Costco and Amazon. The grocery store was an odd kind of “pre church” because even though you would probably see the same people the next day at church, the content of the conversation was far different!
Twice a year Dad would go to the store and get “the box”. The first one was “The Thanksgiving Box” which was a small precursor to “The Christmas Box” that would come a few weeks later. The Thanksgiving box had coveted special items, oysters for oyster dressing, sharp cheddar cheese which we always called “longhorn” cheese, some sweet apples (to counter balance all those horse apples we ate during the summer and early fall,) molasses, fresh coconut for coconut cake, a bag of pecans in their shells (it gave us kids something to do if we were “bored” and just a little bit of old fashioned candy to whet our appetite for the big box coming at Christmas. We didn’t have those things readily available year round and they were expensive, special treats. My mother spun those ingredients into a feast to fed an army and we usually had thirty or so stopping by at some point for a visit.
On any given thanksgiving we would have the following:
roast chicken, whole country ham, regular dressing, oyster dressing, homemade yeast rolls, green beans, crowder peas, cream corn, rice, mashed potatoes,, potato salad, sweet potato casserole, egg gravy, cooked cabbage
numerous types of pickles, olives and nuts, celery with stuffed with homemade pimento cheese, deviled eggs, fried okra, macaroni and cheese.
and for dessert baked apples, coconut cake, pecan pies, pumpkin pies, red velvet cake, cherry yum-yum, and banana pudding!
That was the standard fare. What a feast! My mother learned to cook from my Dad’s mother who was an amazing farm cook. I still use their recipes when I make holiday dinners. They remind me of home, plus they are just darned delicious!
We used the “fancy dishes” and the “good silverware and my mother’s favorite glasses. After she passed away I inherited those settings and I love to use them on Thanksgiving. She loved seeing the table so pretty on holidays. I guess I got that from her too!
Sylvia’s grandmother’s dishes, photos courtesy of marylindsayphoto.com
Then as now I have so much to be thankful for, including our wonderful new friends of the farm and wonderful farm great and an amazing family!
We have a special market day on Saturday… a mini market for special thanksgiving items and holiday gifts. We are pleased to offer some amazing handmade hardwood cheese and cutting boards from Nashville wood worker Chris Barber. His work is gaining popularity in middle Tennessee and we know his creations will look perfect with Kenny’s and Noble Spring Cheeses Miel olives and our preserves! They are perfect for a host gift, great for Christmas too. Each board is a one of a kind work of art! We will have a few on hand, plus you can special order these and we will deliver!
photos courtesy of marylindsayphoto.com
We will have our jams, jellies and pickled items, plus our popular breads. Walnut Hills will be sending out some great beef and pork, we will have a limited supply of eggs and chicken available. We will be partnering with the good folks at Delvin farms for some additional veggies, so a holiday CSA box is available. We are picking greens like mad these days, plus gorgeous radishes and turnips, sweet potatoes and lettuce. We have delicious apples and pie pumpkins to! The Delvin’s have their hoop houses, which help them extend their season, so they are still picking green beans and acorn and blue hubbard squash and cabbage. Please place your order as soon as possible to assure availability. Order your CSA here!
We will also have a few (very few) extra turkeys in case you forgot to order or have just decided to host Turkey day after all! Sequatchie Cove has sent us 4 beautiful leg of lamb as well, if by chance turkey just isn’t your thing! We will also have some other limited items with Bang Candy syrups and Tru Bee honey among those. If there is something you REALLY want order now on the emarket to make sure we have it or can get it in time. Most co-op member have a noon Thursday deadline, and as we are closing this weekend for the winter markets, we will not have a supply on hand otherwise. CLICK HERE to order.
Jams jellies and pickles available year round for arranged pickup or delivery.
We are looking forward to seeing you. Remember market hours are 10-2 this Saturday only, and you can come even if you don’t pre-order a CSA or a turkey! See you Saturday