Local farm markets aren’t just popular in the spring and summer months. Many people rely on them to help get Thanksgiving dinner on the table.

Virginia produces plenty of Thanksgiving staples.

The Virginia Farm Bureau this year highlighted turkeys from the Shenandoah Valley, sweet potatoes grown in southern Virginia, apples cultivated near the Blue Ridge, oysters from the Eastern Shore as well as pumpkin patches throughout the Commonwealth, not to mention lots of craft beers and wines.

“It’s especially important to shop local through the holidays to support local businesses and families in your community,” said Levi Snapp, manager of West Oaks Farm Market at 4305 Middle Road. “You know where your dollar is being spent and who it is going to.”

West Oaks Farm Market — one of numerous farm markets in the region — sells milk, eggs, cheeses, breads, baked goods, canned goods, country ham, oysters, egg nog, locally grown apples, gift baskets, craft beer, wine and more.

At Shawnee Springs Market at 1488 Senseny Road near Winchester, folks can find pies, fruit breads, cookies, apple cider and pumpkin doughnuts, cakes and other desserts, in addition to locally grown fruits and vegetables.

“We have a lot of pie orders going out,” said Tammy Sealock, the market's general manager.

Pie baking for Thanksgiving Day pre-orders began Monday and will continue until about 8 p.m. Wednesday, she said.

Sealock said her favorite holiday side dish is oven-roasted Brussels sprouts, zucchini or squash, all of which can also be found at the market.

If you’re looking for an organic or gluten-free Thanksgiving meal, The Jon Henry General Store at 9383 N. Congress St. in New Market has you covered.

“We’re doing a lot in that regard for folks who want to have a gluten-free Thanksgiving,” shop owner Jon Henry said. “We have all the fixins’ and the sides.”

He said more people want to know how to make holiday meals a little more healthy with local ingredients.

“We get a lot of questions on how to cook up pumpkins because a lot of people have only gotten it out of a can,” he said. “All of our farms that supply us are within 60 miles from the store. All of the apples are grown in the valley, all the lettuce is grown 7 miles away. So, it’s pick to order, super fresh.”

The store has recipes printed out for customers to take, and it also works with the Virginia Eat Smart Move More program to provide cooking videos online and in the store.

Even holiday appetizers can be locally sourced.

The Virginia Farm Bureau suggests a “pre-dinner” charcuterie board with local sauces, peanuts, meats, cheeses, jams, baked goods and more.

Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring says to look for the blue and red Virginia’s Finest checkmark logo on products, which identifies top-quality Virginia specialty food and beverage products.

To find growers and retailers, visit virginiagrown.com.

— Contact Matt Welch at mwelch@winchesterstar.com

(1) comment


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