Happy Turkey Day, everyone!

What a week for gratitude. For joining together, friends, family, and strangers over food. Thanksgiving is the true Rainshadow holiday. Those classic dishes showcase what is actually in season right now: potatoes, sweet potatoes, turkey. The onions, garlic, and leeks that are the subtle flavor foundations of stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy. And then pumpkins. Did you know that pumpkins, the classic pumpkin of pumpkin pie, is the storage squash that needs to be consumed first because it has the shortest shelf life? It is no surprise that pumpkin pie plays a key roll in our Thanksgiving day feasts. What better way to use up your storage goods in the correct order while giving the gift of good food at a fall feast?

One of our longtime CSA members, Angelina, commented to me recently that she and her husband feel that over 90% of their DNA is Rainshadow. Sarahlee likes to describe herself as this land walking around. Eating Thanksgiving dinner is a great reminder of how this is true for all of our CSA members and Farm Store supporters.

If you are what you eat and what you eat is born, raised, fed, and harvested at Rainshadow, then slowly, but surely, you become the land. Your body is sustained by vegetables, grains, and animals that consumed nutrients, oxygen, and calories from this corner of Central Oregon. You are you, I am me, and we are all turkeys, leeks, potatoes, and pumpkin pie.

Our turkeys and the turkey parade as they explored the farm on their way to harvest.

For us on the farm, Thanksgiving is a full body experience involving the heart, the hands, and, of course, taste buds. We start the week of Thanksgiving on what is a high note, although a difficult one. First thing Monday morning, we herd all the turkeys across the farm. They go on the longest, biggest exploration of the property to date before we carefully, conscientiously, and with incredible gratitude process them.

Our relationship with our turkeys bookends our growing season. It begins in mid-March and through successions of kale, chickens, broccoli, and a complete summer intern season and an entire summer farming season we feed, watch, and talk to our turkeys. Then, at the end of November, we say goodbye and enjoy their great gift to us–their life. With that, our farmers take a big sigh of relief to finish the last big harvest of the season.  We are able to take a rest before we begin the planning for next season in all of its layers.

Thinking about being a turkey brings me great joy.  When I walk to the mailbox now and the turkey pasture is silent I remember it filled with the chatter and waves of sound coming as our turkey flock gobbled at a truck that was passing by, or carried on a conversation with the car alarm going off in the parking lot, or said ‘hey!’ to a raven circling overhead.

As I spread butter (from our milk cows) on my biscuits (made with lard from our hogs and flour from our wheat) and eat turkey with gravy and mashed potatoes all made with farm ingredients while sharing stories with the Farm-ily, I personally will be overflowing with gratitude for my Thanksgiving meal as I get to share in these connections between human and animal that reflect our deep tie to place on Thursday evening.

We are what we eat. How wonderful that there is a holiday for us to celebrate the never ending connection of human, food, and land.

We would be remiss in our gratitude if we didn’t talk about Customer Appreciation Day. This is arguably my favorite day on the Farm! We see so many folks – Farm Store customers, CSA members, community members – and everyone is getting their hands dirty playing in the fields. It is a day to teach and to remember where food comes from.

Customer Appreciation was last month, but, as we head into Thanksgiving dinner, I find myself thinking of all the kids I saw pulling carrots out of the ground, finding winter squash treasures, and hidden potatoes in the field and wondering how many are going to enjoy a little bit more of that dirt for dinner tomorrow night. How many community members will be sharing their gleaned goodies with their families. Taking it back to the discussion of being what you eat, how much wider will the net of Rainshadow bounty be cast. How many more people will have our nutrients, minerals, and calories coursing through them?

Here are some of my favorite moments from Customer Appreciation Day.

Folks spread out across the 25-acre field and gleaned wagons full of goodies.

Kids scampered through the fields searching for roots in the dirt.

Photos in this email are from: Brandon Marcaccini