Lesson in home-grown Thanksgiving
November 18, 2005
The Salt Lake Tribune
By Sheena McFarland
It got a little weird when the purple mashed potatoes were placed on the table, but Madeline Kirkpatrick was proud to share them.
She and other Westminster College students on Thursday presented a seemingly typical Thanksgiving feast: turkey, squash, potatoes and warm bread. Atypical was the fact that every morsel was grown or produced within a 100-mile radius of the Salt Lake City school.
"It's possible to buy locally," Kirkpatrick said. "People think it's an inconvenience or don't think it's possible, only because we don't have the mind-set to live like this."
That's exactly what professors Ty Harrison and Jeffrey McCarthy like to hear.
They assigned students in their Wilderness, Suburbs and Action class to create a meal for which all food was locally and organically grown. The point was to teach students about the health, ecological and economic effects of trucking food an average of 1,500 miles to Americans' dinner tables.
"It's great for students to think of where food comes from," said Harrison, who made a cranberry-like dish out of the bittersweet fruit of the Oregon grape plants used in landscaping around various buildings at Westminster.
Though the college has an environmental studies minor, the course is part of an initiative to offer a major in the topic beginning next school year, McCarthy said.
As part of the class, which fulfills both a writing and biology credit, students will write essays about their experiences in finding and cooking the food using only locally grown, mostly organic ingredients.
Mia Campbell loved the smell of honey-baked apples filling her kitchen. She bought the Payson-grown apples at Liberty Heights Market and picked the mint from the biology garden on campus. The honey was also Utah-harvested.
"It wasn't as hard as I thought to find the ingredients, and it tastes a lot better," Campbell said.
Kirkpatrick went to Draper to pick up the potatoes from Jill Bell, who owns a 3/4 -acre lot, where she grows food for her family, sells some and donates the rest. The potatoes, which are about half the size of their Russet relatives, contain a heart-healthy antioxidant called anthocyanin that gives them their purple color.
For students Jake Barnes and Matt Hay, Thursday was the first time they had thought about where their turkey comes from. They bought a Norbest turkey raised in Moroni.
"There are a lot of benefits for the environment and health by eating like this," Barnes said.
Food for the feast
Here's where Westminster College got Utah-produced food for Thanksgiving:
Turkey: Moroni (Norbest)
Potatoes, squash and rosemary: Draper (Bell Organic Family Farm)
Jellied berries: Westminster College campus (Oregon grapes used in landscaping)
Bread: Lehi (grain grown), Logan (bread baked, with all local ingredients)
Grape juice: Sandy (grapes were grown in family garden)
Trout: Strawberry Reservoir
Honey: Huntsville (Trappist Monastery)
Butter: West Valley City (Winder Farms)
Feta cheese: Tooele
Salad greens: Ogden