MARQUETTE - As the holidays approach, area residents are hitting the grocery stores, stocking up on all their Thanksgiving needs.
But as people flit from store to store, trying to find the best price for their holiday meal, one thing they might not be considering is where that food is coming from.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 40 million turkeys will be eaten this Thanksgiving. When factoring in the raising, slaughtering and transporting of those turkeys, the environmental cost of your traditional Thanksgiving meal could be higher than you think.
Stores throughout Marquette offer a variety of local produce for your Thanksgiving meal. At left, a display at the Marquette Food Co-Op is seen. (Journal photo by Jackie Stark)
"One of the challanges in our area is that there are local turkeys, you can purchase them from someone locally, but not from retail outlets," said Natasha Lantz, education and outreach director for the Marquette Food Co-op. "There aren't any comercial-sized turkey facilities (in the area)."
However, environmentally-concious U.P. residents need not despair. Wisconsin is one of the leading producers of cranberries in the nation and, according to the National Turkey Federation, Minnesota is the country's highest turkey-producing state: two Thanksgiving staples that U.P. consumers can buy from somewhat local vendors without feeling the guit of a heavy carbon footprint.
Also, Rock River Farms, located in Chatam, does sell whole turkeys. However, you must pre-order your turkey, and the farm as already sold all its turkeys for the year.
As for the rest of a traditional Thanksgiving meal, many of the foods can be purchased from local farms.
Beets, turnips, squash, potatoes and other traditional Thanksgiving vegetables can be found locally produced in the Marquette?Food Co-op.
Econo Foods offers a wide variety of organic fruits and vegetables, among other items of interest.
Super One Foods has jams and jellies from Keweenaw Kitchens as well as Trenary Toast, which could be used as an alternative to other store-bought breads for a homemade stuffing. That is, if you're not making your own bread.
Also, the Marquette Farmers Market still has local food vendors every Saturday.
Marquette Meats sells antibiotic-free and steroid free-birds. However, you must pre-order them. Customers still have a few days to place an order.
And, for those looking to have a little bit different Thanksgiving this year, there are alternatives to turkey.
Whitefish and trout from Thill's Fish House are caught in Lake Superior and the Marquette Food Co-op and Marquette Meats both offer locally grown beef and grass-fed buffalo.
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.