Home-grown Thanksgiving

Turkey-free recipes using products within a 160-kilometre radius of Kingston

Honey-glazed pork chops offer an environmentally-friendly alternative to the conventional turkey dinner this Thanksgiving.
Honey-glazed pork chops offer an environmentally-friendly alternative to the conventional turkey dinner this Thanksgiving.

For many the Thanksgiving season is synonymous with a road trip to grandma’s house and coma-inducing feasts, but the downside of the holiday is that it can put a strain on the environment.

When you account for the extra carbon emissions from the 18-wheelers working overtime to bring turkeys to your local grocery store, eating local seems like a responsible alternative. The Kingston public market downtown on Market Street showcases the fertile southern Ontario greenbelt’s gastronomic party of artisan dairy products, quality meat and fresh produce.

It might seem daunting to join the 100-mile challenge and make a Thanksgiving feast from local ingredients.

But finding delicious ingredients within 160 kilometres of your home isn’t as difficult as you might think. Turkey will traditionally dominate dinner tables this holiday weekend, but there are alternatives that are environmentally-friendly.

Any locally-raised chicken will still have to travel to a larger government-regulated slaughterhouse before reaching your plate.

Canada’s strict federal regulations for poultry production pose a challenge for independent farmers who aren’t able to process their chickens on-site on a large scale. The best option then is to skip poultry altogether and try beef dishes or a pork chop recipe instead.

Julia Segal, the owner and founder of Kingston by Fork food tour, said Pykeview Meadows Farms on Wolfe Island specializes in naturally-raised bison.

Through her work with the food tour, Segal knows many growers and producers in the Kingston area.

Her goal is to expose the vibrant local food community in Kingston and its locally-sourced and seasonal ingredients.

Segal said the key is to make small changes first. “Eating locally could mean making the effort when it comes to grabbing local foods instead of the same from another part of the world when you’re out grocery shopping,” she said.

We often take for granted many staples like sugar, olive oil, salt and citrus fruits.

The 100-mile challenge is difficult because the reality is food imports are now a large part of modern food culture. Having to give up things like coffee has deterred many prospective 100-mile challengers from making any long-lasting lifestyle changes.

Limiting sacrifices to one meal, like Thanksgiving dinner, might yield more success.

The recipes here are created with produce currently in season around the Kingston area.

Sweet potato and apple soup

A hearty and colourful way to enjoy the autumn harvest. You’ll hardly miss the salt with so many naturally flavourful components. Root vegetables, including sweet potatoes, are readily available at this time of year.

Within 150 kilometres of Kingston, there are apple orchards like Bateau Channel Orchard on Howe Island.


• 1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes,

peeled and diced • 2 medium Granny Smith

apples, cored and peeled • 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced • 1 medium onion, diced

• 4 cups homemade vegetable stock

• 1/2 cups Apple cider

• Butter • 2 garlic cloves, chopped Directions Place sweet potatoes, apples, carrots and onions in a roasting pan with a drizzle of melted butter.

Roast in a 220 C (425 F) oven for 35 minutes or until ingredients are tender.

Blend contents of roasting pan in a food processor with garlic, apple cider and vegetable stock.

Blend in the processor in several equal batches if needed. Serve warm with fresh wedges of apples as garnish.

Honey-glazed pork chops with harvest stuffing

Sugar, salt and pepper will be taboo but it doesn’t mean your Thanksgiving main should miss out on any flavor. The natural sugars from honey and tartness of Granny Smith apples are perfect substitutes. Pork chops instead of traditional turkey is also a great way to change things up and reduce food miles.


• 1 medium onion, diced
• 4 pork loin chops (bone-in for maximum flavor)
• 3 tbsp honey
• 1/2 cup butter
• 3 cup flourless cornbread, roughly broken up
• 1 large carrot, diced
• 2 medium onions, diced
• 2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled
and diced
• 2 medium beets, roasted with butter at 175 C
(350 F) and cubed
• 4 stalks of celery, chopped
• 3 tbsp garlic powder
• 2 cups water
Serves 4


For stuffing, sauté diced carrots, onions, apples, beets and celery with a generous amount of butter in a pan over medium high heat. Crumble in cornbread with garlic powder for flavor.

Reduce heat and gradually mix in two cups of water and one tbsp of honey. Set aside.

Cut a pocket into the side of each pork chop with a sharp knife and fill with stuffing.

Over high heat, sear with butter in oven-safe pan for two to three minutes on each side.

Turn down to medium high and brush chops with honey. Cover pan with a lid and cook for another eight minutes.

Eggplant lasagna with acorn squash

Lasagna noodles are usually made from white enriched flour, which won’t do for the 100-mile meal. A great pasta substitute is eggplant. This also serves as a tasty vegetarian option.


• 1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced about 1/4
inch thick
•1 large zucchini, sliced
•1 ½ cup ricotta cheese
•1/2 cup Parmesan
•1 tsp dried basil
•1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
•1 acorn squash
•2 cups homemade tomato sauce

Serves 4 to 6


Place peeled and sliced eggplant in a skillet over medium heat with butter until each side is browned.
Drain and soak up excess butter on sheets of paper towels.
Cut squash down the middle and place on baking sheets with cut side up. Bake at 175 C (350 F) oven for 20 minutes. Scoop out softened squash from the skin and set aside.
To assemble lasagna, grease a lasagna pan with butter and layer in this order: eggplant, tomato sauce, zucchini, ricotta cheese and Parmesan cheese until ingredients are used up. Bake in 375 F oven for 45 minutes. In the last 3 minutes, top with a fresh layer of Parmesan and chopped cilantro.


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