Urban Sprouts Farm in Atlanta is a biodynamic and certified organic urban farm offering over 80 varieties of edible vegetables, herbs and flowers, grown locally. Photo credit: USDA.

Decide on your final Thanksgiving menu using the Black Farmers Index

It might be painful to admit that you’ve waited until the last minute to go shopping for Thanksgiving. But never fear, Ark Republic is here to let you know that you can find all of your Thanksgiving fixings, including the turkey, from the Black Farmers Index.

There are many producers and farms to choose from these holidays. Overall, we encourage you to locate a farm that you can support directly. Here at Ark Republic, we made a commitment to direct consumers to Black farmers due to decades of injustice and inequity that has severely reduced Black growers. For this holiday, give thanks while purchasing your favorite ingredients from a Black farmer in your area.

Turkey

Turkey as the central meat has depths of history. In the region “the first Thanksgiving” took place, turkey meat was a plentiful meat source, but it has much more significance. Turkey feathers were used on arrows, in headdresses and clothing. Their bones were used for tools and in ritual ceremonies.

First off the turkey. If you’re in the Terrebonne, Oregon area you can get a turkey from Rain Shadow Organics. They have heritage pasture raised-turkeys and holiday hams made to order. They are also selling 20 and 50 pound boxes of potatoes for the holiday. 

If you’re in the Richmond, Virginia area, another farm to get turkeys is the Piñero Family Farm. Bringing the Black + Latinix love, the Piñerosa sells Black Angus Beef and pork too. Another good find is Griffin Organic Poultry in Hawthorne, FL that sells pasture-raised chickens, turkeys and organic eggs.

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Chicken, Pork, Goat & Beef

Families can fight over what animal protein to eat during dinner. Nonetheless, there are a lot of aunts, uncles and grandparents that need a little taste of pork every now and again. If so, get it from farmers who raise their pigs sustainably. That actually goes with anything, but check out the artisanal meats grown by Agape Organic Farms in Dansville, Michigan. 

To make meat more affordable, you should join their CSA, or subscription program that mixes pork and beef. But wayment. They also have one for vegans which is microgreens and mushrooms. Brilliant.

Another farm offering a variety is Cleav’s Family Market Farm in Bonnieville, KY. They raise hogs, cattle and chickens using natural and humane methods to sell beef, pork and poultry products in meat bundles.

The Swanson Family Farm offers goat and lamb along with chickens and pork in the Atlanta area as well as Philadelphia, while Shire’s Gate in Owensville, Missouri focuses on great beef cattle.

Traditional Greens

Shopping for greens? Black farmers’ specialty are greens because it is a cultural staple in the Africa American community. Photo credit: Milada Vigerova.

Now for the greens. A dark leafy vegetable in the cruciferous family, collard greens are made in many different ways. Plus they’re packed with antioxidant beta-carotene, chlorophyll and vitamins K, A and C. This superfood comes from African cuisine and was brought by those who were forced into slavery.

By the way, did you know collard greens are the state vegetable for South Carolina? Collard greens has always been a family favorite. You can get your collard greens from Boyds Farms in Nathalie, Virginia. 

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Micro Greens

A superfood that is quickly becoming a staple on American dishes, the tender, leafy microgreens spice up salads with nutrients and flavor. Because microgreens can be grown indoors, it is a highly successful business, but also food that is good for the belly and body. The women The Green Anarchist in Annapolis, Maryland, as well as 

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Photo credit: Markus Winkler

Corn, Beans & Squash

Add to your Thanksgiving sides by paying a visit to Armstrong Farms, in Bastrop, Louisiana, where they carry sweet corn, butter beans and squash. If you missed their late summer W.A.P. clearance, that’s their watermelon and peas sale you frisky people. No fret, they are running a pick-your-own-greens special. Plus, they pull up at local shopping centers in their area to sell freshly harvested turnips and grens.

A leading farmer in northern Louisiana, the Armstrong’s are third and fourth generation farmers keeping the harvests going. Get them greens and store them for the winter. Nothing like collards and turnips on a chilly fall night.

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Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes

Get the potatoes for your potato salad or mashed potatoes at A&M Farms in Colorado. Another option is Webb’s Urban Produce Farms in McCrory, Arkansas. A couple-ran operation, they grow Irish potatoes and tomatoes, along with making chow chow and hot sauce.

We don’t care what you say. Sweet Potato is a sacred crop, and a staple in African American family culinary tradition. While sweet potatoes are a tuber that is in the root vegetable family, a popular use for it is as a nice mild sweet dish for dinner, and definitely an important ingredient for dessert. Sweet potato pie is always a good tradition, but there are so many ways to whip up a sweet potato—in a souffle, cake, or even ice cream. 

There are quite a few sweet potato farmers. We’re talking old school to new school. If you’re around Takoma Park, Maryland, purchase your organic sweet potatoes from Purple Mountain Organics. Another organic grower is Slade Farms, in Surrey, Virginia. They offer 15 different varieties of organically grown sweet potatoes from Carolina Ruby to Red Japanese. 

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Mushrooms

Did you know that there’s been a 700% increase of mushroom consumption in the last five years in the US. Partly due to the plant-based boom, there is also an increase in ways to add this to your culinary list for the holidays. We love the variety of mushrooms grown at Moonlight Farms in North Carolina. A woman-owned, family operated business, there are a host of gourmet mushrooms grown without the use of chemicals or fertilizer.

Not far from moonlight is Oliver’s Agroforest. Ran by Olivia Watkins on her family farm in North Carolina, she uses the local timber to harvest an assortment of mushrooms like the delicious shitake. 

If you’re not in North Carolina, Patchwork City Farms in Atlanta grows oyster mushrooms using natural and organic methods. In Columbus, Ohio, youth entrepreneur and farmer, Te’Lario Watkins who started Tiger Mushroom Farm, sells in the area and even ships dried mushrooms and seasonings. 

Oh, and we cannot forget The Seeds of Xanadu in Long Beach, California or  “Mushroom Mike” of Southwest Mushrooms in Phoenix, Arizona who is a master grower with a long list of artisanal mushrooms.

|Read: 33 Farmers offering locally raised beef, pork and poultry

Gourmet Herbs

We’re going to call Ras Levi Peynado of Herban Farm in Seattle, the herb king. He sells dozen herbs, spices and salts for your foods, and of course lavender. As well, Fangbonger Farms in Holland, Ohio sells a line of meat rub and spice blends grown and processed on their farm. Another option is Rise and Root Farm or Basil Exotic Leaf, which are both in New York.

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Photo credit: Jed Owen

Dessert Ingredients

Jams

Top a cake or pie with some homemade jams or preserves. According to Browntown Farms in Warfield, Virginia, they have the best jams around. Using their berries and other produce, they make a line of jams as toppings or spicy marinades.

One more line of jams found is at Perkins Orchard in Durham, North Carolina. A 50-year-old fruit market that started out as a road stand, is now the only privately-owned fruit and vegetable market in the state.  Ran by Donavan Watson, Perkins Orchard has an impressive line of jams and jellies, along with a host of other items he’s turned local farmers’ produce into ciders, wine, chow chow, condiments, syrups, candy apples and sorbets. Trust me, he puts Whole Foods to shame.

For ice cream, check out Rockbottom Farm, a small certified organic dairy farm in Strafford VT. We have 115 registered Guernseys, and we bottle their milk and make ice cream in our creamery at our farm.

Honey

Sugar, honey ice tea. But for real, honey is a great sweetener for teas, desserts and even sauces. Look for Noble Honey Co. in Atlanta for raw, artisan selections. The Herban Life Homestead is a licensed and certified beekeepers who ship their sumptuous honey through its Etsy site.

Lavender

Bask Farm in Wilton, CA Grows and sells herbs and edible flowers year-round that include lavender.

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While getting together with family and friends is second nature, the CDC recommends getting together with them virtually this year as COVID-19 raises during this second wave. They recommend celebrating with the people you live with.

Journalist established in 2001, inspired by transformative leads.

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