- helps support local farmers and producers
- provides our bodies with a wide range of nutrients
- strengthens our connection to our food and the land
- lessens the environmental impacts of hauling produce around the country
Our Canadian friends celebrated Thanksgiving a few weeks ago. Here in the US, it’s only a few weeks away. For many of us, the traditional Thanksgiving meal features many delicious seasonal foods. Why not enjoy a harvest dinner on other days too? It can be so gratifying to embrace that sense of “place” in our meals — and also challenging. Whether your food comes from a supermarket, farm stand, or CSA share, consider these ideas for your any day harvest dinner.
“Harvest” the produce department
Not sure exactly what’s in season right now? Check this website to see what’s available in your state this time of year. Or, go hyper-local and take your cue from your supermarket’s produce department. Most supermarkets feature plenty of seasonal selections from nearby farms, and they’re usually identified with special signage. Take advantage of these items if possible — they’re often less expensive (and fresher) than produce that travels a distance.
Focus on plants
The term “harvest” refers to gathering mature fruits, vegetables, and grains from the fields. Naturally, these foods will feature prominently in a harvest dinner, and there are abundant choices this time of year.
Produce can take center stage in a harvest dinner, so don’t be afraid to use vegetables and grains as the basis for your main dish. The Guiding Stars recipe collection features many entrees that are veggie-centric. Here are a few fall favorites:
Do it your way
There aren’t really any “rules” for a harvest dinner, so express your personality and preferences! A dinner party with lots of guests or an intimate harvest dinner for two? A “build your own harvest bowl” dinner? A vegan or vegetarian dinner? A dinner made entirely with local foods? A harvest soup dinner? Anything is possible as long as you’re using seasonal foods (bonus points if they are local).
If dessert is part of your menu (likely so for a dinner party!), seasonal fruits make great star ingredients. Pies are a natural dessert choice, but puddings, crisps, crumbles, and compotes are great options too. For the perfect ending to a delicious harvest meal, you can also add a topper. A spoonful of vanilla yogurt, scoop of ice cream, dollop of whipped cream, or drizzle of crème fraîche — Yum! Check out these fruity favorites from Guiding Stars: