TreeHugger 100-Mile Thanksgiving Challenge: Meet the Judges and Finalists

The entries have been received, and the judges have had their say - now it is your turn to vote for the winner of our 100-Mile Thanksgiving Challenge. Before we show you the delicious entries from our finalists, let us introduce you to the wonderful group of judges that helped us along the way.

- TreeHugger friend Siel (and occasional contributor ) is the voice behind green LA girl and has been testing out the 100-mile diet around Southern California.
- Jill Cordes is the host of Food Network's "The Best of..." and creator of jillcordes.com. She will be sharing with us her "Best of...100-Mile Thanksgiving Dinners."
- Michael Chiarello is a celebrity chef who can be seen cooking up a storm with local ingredients on Food Network's "Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello." You can find his NapaStyle line of cookware online at napastyle.com.
- Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon are the founders of the 100-mile diet and run the website 100milediet.org. We would like to extend our gratitude for their innovation and inspiration in local eating.
- Brahm Ahmadi is the executive director and co-founder of People's Grocery, an Oakland based non-profit focused on building a community-based local food system in West Oakland.

And now to our five 100-Mile Challenge finalists vying for the grand prize from Organic Valley...Todd Bradley and Beth Partin, Colorado, USA


  • Here is the menu my wife and I put together for Thanksgiving. I included the growers of the raw materials where possible. The main challenges we had were finding salt, vinegar, yeast, sugar, and wine from the local area. We settled for wine that's from 170 miles away, and the salt and vinegar is from WAY away somewhere. As far as I can tell, there are no salt mines or yeast farms/manufacturers/whatever in Colorado.

    100 Mile Thanksgiving Challenge Menu

    by Todd Bradley and Beth Partin

    Menu:

    with dinner: Garfield Estates S2 wine
    arugula and spinach salad with carmelized onions, goat cheese, and
    roasted red pepper dressing
    wood smoked pork chops with chipotle cream sauce
    baked butternut squash topped with chive mint basil relish
    mashed potatoes and garlic mushroom gravy
    whole wheat dinner rolls with whipped honey butter
    after dinner: Graystone Vineyards Port II wine

    Recipes and Growers:
    Garfield Estates S2 wine - Palisade, Colorado - 170 miles

    arugula and spinach salad with carmelized onions, goat cheese, and
    roasted red pepper dressing
    arugula, spinach, and onions - New Moon Farms, Boulder - 7 miles
    goat cheese - Haystack Mountain Goat Cheese, Niwot - 13 miles
    roasted red peppers - grown in Brighton, roasted at the Boulder
    Farmers Market - 18 miles
    vinegar - far away

    wood smoked pork chops with chipotle cream sauce
    pork chops - Long Family Farms, Eaton - 46 miles
    chipotles - grown in Brighton, roasted at home - 18 miles
    cream - Karl's Farm Dairy, Northglenn - 7 miles
    salt - far away

    baked butternut squash topped with chive mint basil relish
    squash - Stevens Farm, Niwot - 13 miles
    chives, mint, and basil - our backyard, Broomfield - 15 feet

    mashed potatoes and garlic mushroom gravy
    potatoes - New Moon Farms, Boulder - 7 miles
    garlic - Cure Organic Farm, Boulder - 8 miles
    mushrooms - Hazel Dell Organic Mushrooms, Fort Collins - 37 miles

    whole wheat dinner rolls with whipped honey butter
    100% whole wheat flour - What Land Farms, Kersey - 49 miles
    yeast - Mexico - far away
    organic cane sugar - Florida Crystals, Florida - 1800 miles (the only
    organic sugar made in the USA)
    cream (to make our own butter) - Karl's Farm Dairy, Northglenn - 7 miles
    salt - far away
    honey - Madhava Honey, Lyons - 29 miles

    Graystone Vineyards Port II wine - Clifton, Colorado - 170 miles


  • Our guest judges loved the idea of the wood-smoked pork chops with chipotle cream sauce, even those who don't eat pork! Here's what Brahm Ahmadi from People's Grocery had to say, "These guys really created a deluxe feast. So many different items - they must be planning to have a lot of family over for Thanks Giving dinner. I don’t eat pork but I got to say that the wood smoked pork chops with
    chipotle cream sauce sounds delicious. Smoke and chipotle are great flavors
    together."


Marc Rummimger, Berkeley, CA, USA
Marc put together a map of the locations of the farms he used. The map can be found here.

  • THE MENU To create my 100 mile Thanksgiving plan, I did not start with a traditional Thanksgiving menu and try to replicate it. Instead, I used my impressions of autumn---cool days, chilly nights, colorful trees---to guide my selections at the Farmers' Market, wine shop, and cheese shop (in Berkeley, California).

    I start with some simple snacks. Crunchy spiced pecans and roasted almonds; slices of San Joaquin Gold Cheese on roasted sliced potato, Redhawk cheese on apple slices, and chunks of Redwood Hill goat-milk feta. To drink, an organically grown zinfindel wine from Sobon Estates (Plymouth, CA) or non-oaked Chardonnay from Granite Springs Winery (Fair Play, CA).

    After the snacks, the meal is served in one stage, so a guest can eat salad when he or she wants. The salad has visual hints of the fall, as bright orange slices of fuyu persimmon are arranged on a bed of lettuce and frisee dressed in a lemon-vineagrette and topped with toasted walnuts. The slightly bitter greens contrast with the sweetness of fuyu persimmon and the richness of toasted walnuts.

    In traditional Thanksgivings, the presentation of the turkey is the "wow moment" of the meal. In my 100-mile dinner, guests will be wowed by individually-sized wild mushroom souffles with cracked golden crusts. The flavors---the mysterious earthiness of the mushrooms, the complexity of the cheese, the richness of the base---will make guests remember what they ate, not just what they saw. Alongside is one classic and one of my seasonal favorites. The classic is mashed potatoes, a Thanksgiving "must eat" dish. Since it is a big holiday, the potatoes are enriched with lots of butter and cream. The seasonal favorite is braised red chard with garlic.

    My dessert features wedges, but not pumpkin pie. I take a slightly sweet crepe, then fold it into a wedge before placing on a plate for service. On top of the crepe I spoon some stewed apples, drizzle a generous amount of warm spiced creme anglaise, and finish with a sprinkling of toasted pecans.

    THE SOURCES
    For each part of the meal, I break out the ingredients and the farm from which I acquired each one. The numbers next to the farm names refer to a list of the locations, and also to annotations on a 100-mile radius map.

    Snacks:
    Almonds - Riverdog Farm (#8)
    Pecans - Ludwig Avenue Farm (#4)
    San Joaquin Gold Cheese - Fiscalini Cheese Company (#14)
    Redhawk Cheese - Cowgirl Creamery (#6)
    Goat-milk feta - Redwood Hill Farm (#3)
    Potatoes - Riverdog Farm (#8)
    Apples - Flatland Flower Farm (#2)
    Zinfindel wine - Sobon Estates (#12)
    Chardonnay wine - Granite Springs (#13)

    Salad of lettuce and frisee topped with fuyu persimmon and walnuts:
    Lettuce - Blue Heron Farm (#15)
    Frisee - Terra Firma Farm (#10)
    Persimmon - A friend's backyard (#7)
    Olive oil - Bariani Olive Oil (#11)
    Lemon - My backyard
    Walnuts - Terra Firma Farm (#10)
    Vinegar - non-local

    Wild Mushroom Souffle:
    Eggs - Ludwig Avenue Farm (#4)
    Mushrooms - Solano Mushrooms (mushrooms collected in Sonoma County) (#1)
    Milk, butter - Straus Family Creamery (#5)
    Flour - Full Belly Farm (#9)
    Cheese - Fiscalini Cheese Company (#14)
    Salt - non-local

    Braised Chard with Garlic:
    Chard - Riverdog Farm (#8)
    Garlic - Terra Firma Farm (#9)
    Salt - non-local

    Mashed Potatoes:
    Potatoes - Riverdog Farm (#8)
    Cream, butter - Straus Family Creamery (#5)
    Salt - non-local
    Pepper - non-local

    Crepes Topped with Stewed Apples, Pecans, and Spiced Creme Anglaise:
    Milk, butter - Straus Family Creamery (#5)
    Flour - Full Belly Farm (#9)
    Sugar - non-local
    Apples - Flatland Flower Farm (#2)
    Pecans, eggs - Ludwig Avenue Farm (#4)
    Spices - non-local

    GEOGRAPHICAL DETAILS
    (distances are from Berkeley "as the crow flies", not road miles)

    #1 - Sonoma County (75 mi), Solano Mushrooms collecting area: chantarelle mushrooms
    #2 - Sebastopol (48 mi), Flatland Flower Farm: apples
    #3 - Sebastopol (48 mi), Redwood Hill Farm: feta cheese
    #4 - Santa Rosa (50 mi), Ludwig Avenue Farm : eggs, pecans
    #5 - Marshall (40 mi), Straus Family Creamery: milk, butter, cream
    #6 - Point Reyes Station (33 mi), Cowgirl Creamery: Redhawk cheese
    #7 - San Rafael (20 mi), A friend's backyard: persimmons
    #8 - Guinda (67 mi), Riverdog Farm: chard, potatoes
    #9 - Guinda (67 mi), Full Belly Farm: whole wheat flour
    #10 - Winters (50 mi), Terra Firma Farm: frisee, garlic, walnuts
    #11 - Sacramento (70 mi), Bariani Olive Oil: olive oil
    #12 - Plymouth (88 mi), Sobon Estates: zinfindel wine
    #13 - Fair Play (100 mi), Granite Springs: chardonnay wine
    #14 - Modesto (71 mi), Fiscalini Cheese: San Joaquin Gold, Fiscalini Bandage-wrapped Cheddar
    #15 - Watsonville (70 mi), Blue Heron Farms: lettuce


  • Both Brahm Ahmadi from People's Grocery and Alisa Smith/James MacKinnon from 100milediet.org pick Marc's entry as their overall favorite. Brahm said, "He turned this cooking project into a great educational tool about local food and how one can go about doing it." Alisa and James thought Marc's Thanksgiving dinner was the total package, "He does a bunch of things I like with this menu, several of which the others did as well, but which he does all in one place...A light, sharp salad to go with a heavy meal, a visual "wow" dish to replace the turkey, simple, easy-to-prepare side dishes [and] a dessert that made me really hungry."


Kirsten Healey, Utah, USA

  • The 100-mile Thanksgiving challenge gets more exciting when you live in
    snowy, red-state utah. Having moved from the riduiculously delicious
    willamette valley of oregon last year to the mountains of utah this year,
    every find of local yummy food (and it turns out there is lots of good food
    to be had...) has been cause for celebration. We joined an organic CSA that
    delivers near us (East Farms), there are wonderful local artisan breads
    (Crumb Brothers) and cheeses (Rockhill Creamery and Winder Farms), good
    beers (Uinta Brewery) and local fruits and honey. We have friends who still
    raise sheep, cattle, apples and raspberries in a landscape increasingly
    covered with giant houses instead of plants. My first attempt at a
    square-foot garden had a few successes; the herbs and swiss chard are still
    soldiering on despite the frost and snow. We don't have many restaurants
    locally that take full advantage of the local offerings, but there seems to
    be a "local" movement growing in Salt Lake and Park City. Hooray!

    Thanks for making me appreciate about the bounty around us.

    Menu:
    * asterisks indicate some potential cheating going on...

    Beverages:
    La Caille Blanc wine
    Uinta Brewery Cutthroat Pale Ale
    *Native Wines Wild Rosehip Mead (52 miles over)
    water

    to start: crumb brothers bread
    cheese selections from Winder Dairy and Rockhill Creamery (gouda and apple
    walnut smoked cheddar)
    *apple chutney (spices)

    Main meal:
    *Leg of lamb with rosemary mint pesto (pine nuts 100 miles over)
    baked winter squash with honey and butter
    stirfried swiss chard with feta
    mashed red potatoes with butter, cream and garlic

    dessert
    *baked apples with honey sauce (sugar, vanilla bean)

    ingredients, sources and distance
    honey: cox honey--logan, UT 58 mi
    *salt: real salt--redmond, UT 188 mi
    garlic, pumpkin/squash, onion, potatoes: east farms west point, UT 25 mi
    leg of lamb, apples: Cindy and Tim Ford Huntsville, UT 7 mi
    rosemary: potted plant in kitchen, 0 mi
    mint: garden 0 mi
    swiss chard: garden 0 mi
    crumb brothers bread: logan, UT 58 mi
    butter, cream, milk, cheese: winder farms west valley city, UT 60 mi
    *Native Wines wild rosehip mead: Mt. Pleasant, UT 152 mi
    www.nativewines.net
    La Caille Blanc wine: sandy, UT 71 mi
    gouda, feta: Rockhill creamery www.rockhillcheese.com logan, UT 58 mi
    *pine nuts roadside stand somewhere between here and richfield ut about 200
    mi?
    Cutthroat Pale Ale--SLC 53 mi


  • Jill Cordes picked Kirsten's feast as her favorite, "Love that despite the cheating (and I appreciate the honesty) that she did something unusual, but still very Thanksgiving-like, in terms of comfort. The Lamb with the Rosemary-Mint Pesto sounds divine and hearty, comforting and earthy. All the things we love about T-day. I echo that with her side dishes/accompaniments. They sound extraordinary, but still very in touch with Thanksgiving."


Robin Michaels, Lawrence, NJ, USA

  • Hopefully my Thanksgiving menu will prove that there's still some garden left in New Jersey, the Garden State. I belong to a CSA farm, Honey Brook Organic Farm in Titusville, NJ, so most of the produce hails from there. I have enough herbs for ten Thanksgivings; thankfully, they dry well.

    Food Sources, Mileage and URLs (everything's from within 25 miles of my house):

    Titus Mill Farm (Pennington, NJ – 13.67 miles): http://www.titusmill.com/
    Trenton Farmers Market (Lawrence, NJ – 1.8 miles): http://www.thetrentonfarmersmarket.com/
    Honey Brook Organic Farm (Titusville, NJ – 14.36 miles): http://honeybrookorganicfarm.com/
    Terhune Orchards (Princeton, NJ – 10.18 miles): http://www.terhuneorchards.com/
    Halo Farm Dairy (Lawrence, NJ – 1.9 miles): N/A
    DiPaola Turkey Farm (Hamilton, NJ – 3.84 miles): N/A
    Cherry Grove Farm (Lawrenceville, NJ – 8.11 miles): http://cherrygrovefarm.com/
    Hopewell Valley Vineyards (Hopewell, NJ – 12.91 miles): http://hopewellvalleyvineyards.com/
    Birchwood Farm Dairy (Newtown, PA – 21.33 miles): http://www.birchwoodfarmdairy.com/
    My own backyard garden, Lawrence, NJ (0 miles)

    Beverages:
    - Pinot Grigio, Dry Blush, and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from Hopewell Valley Vineyards
    - Pineland Farm Apple Cider, both cold and a warm version with cranberries from Trenton Farmers Market
    - Ice Water from the well, Titusville, NJ

    Salad:
    - Baby lettuces from Honey Brook Organic Farm
    - Radicchio from Honey Brook Organic Farm
    - Cubed Bosc Pears from Trenton Farmers' Market
    - Shredded toasted cheddar raw milk cheese from Birchwood Dairy Farm
    - Crisp crumbled bacon from Cherry Grove Farm

    A rich start to a rich meal, but the cheese and bacon are served alongside in ramekins so they're fully optional.

    The Main Attraction:
    - Turkey from DiPaola Turkey Farm
    - Sage from Honey Brook Organic Farm
    - Thyme from my backyard garden
    - Butter from Halo Farm Dairy
    - Carrots from Honey Brook Organic Farm

    The turkey will be roasted rather simply, on a rack made of carrots since I've got them. The herbs and butter will be slathered beneath the skin prior to cooking.

    Stuffing:
    - Sage from Honey Brook Organic Farm
    - Thyme from my backyard garden
    - Butter from Halo Farm Dairy
    - Juices from the cooked turkey
    - Spicy Italian Turkey Sausage from DiPaola Turkey Farm
    - Cubed winesap apples from Terhune Orchards
    - Diced carrots from Honey Brook Organic Farm
    - Diced shallots from Honey Brook Organic Farm

    No bread supplies are really local to me, though of course there are local bakeries. I'm omitting it in favor of turkey sausage and apples.

    Cranberry Sauce:
    - Cranberries from Trenton Farmers Market
    - Honey from Titus Mill Farm
    - Pineland Farm Apple Cider from Trenton Farmers Market

    The cider actually is used for cooking the cranberries to impart a natural sweetness. Honey added just to taste to balance the tartness, plus it adds a thickness to the sauce.

    Potato and Kale Galette:
    - Kale from Trenton Farmers' Market
    - Butter from Halo Farm Dairy
    - Garlic from Honey Brook Organic Farm
    - Potatoes from Honey Brook Organic Farm
    - Parsley from my backyard garden

    I bought a kale plant at the farmer's market which has been prettying up my front steps, but lately it is looking quite tasty. I plan to cook this lovely golden potato cake in a cast iron skillet and garnish with parsley which is somehow still thriving in my yard in November. We have a vegetarian joining us, and I know she'll love this dish!

    Rutabaga Gratin:
    - Rutabaga from Honey Brook Organic Farm
    - Whole Milk from Halo Farm Dairy
    - Shredded baby swiss raw milk cheese from Birchwood Farm Dairy
    - Toasted sheet of the same baby swiss, baked separately and crumbled over top after baking for a crispy cheesy crunch

    Rutabagas were plentiful this year at the farm, and my first taste was a mere few weeks ago. I've made this dish twice since. It's so simple and delicious!

    Corn Souffle:
    - Frozen corn from Trenton Farmers Market
    - Whole Milk from Halo Farm Dairy
    - Butter from Halo Farm Dairy

    My mother makes this every year. Carb-fearing we are not.

    Desserts:

    Apple Souffle:
    - Pineland Farm Apple Cider from Trenton Farmers Market (just a bit for flavor)
    - Thinly Sliced Granny Smith Apples from Terhune Orchards
    - Eggs from Cherry Grove Farm
    - Honey from Titus Mill Farm
    - Butter from Halo Farm Dairy

    I love apple crisp, but nuts aren't really local to me and the Thanksgiving meal is so heavy I'm opting for a type of soufflé I concocted. The apples do add some weight to the soufflé, making for a nice layer at the bottom depending on how many you add.

    Pan-Roasted Pears with Sage:

    - Butter from Halo Farm Dairy
    - Bosc pears from Trenton Farmers Market
    - Sliced fresh sage leaves from Honey Brook Organic Farm
    - Honey from Titus Mill Farm

    The syrup-glazed pears and notes of fresh sage are unbelievable in this dish, which I heard on the Splendid Table podcast and modified to be all-local. It can be served with ice cream or in a pool of cream from Halo Farm Dairy.

    And what could be more locally-oriented than a nice long walk after dinner to digest it all!


  • Celebrity chef Michael Chiarello picked Robin's meal as his #1 overall choice. He thought the meal was, "elegantly executed "traditional" thanksgiving from local ingredients; nice use of family ritual with out of season ingredient (corn) "


Bahar Zaker, Syracuse, NY, USA

  • Hello,

    Thank you so much for this thought-provoking contest! We have concocted this Thanksgiving meal that is all vegetarian and has all ingredients sourced from within a 100 mile radius of our home in Syracuse, NY. (You will find detailed information about the food sources below the menu). Photos will be posted on our blog ( http://www.wherestherevolution.blogspot.com). The vast majority of the produce is organically grown, including produce and herbs from our own garden.

    Salad

    Radish (Elderberry Pond Farm), Sprout (homegrown) and Bellpepper (homegrown) salad

    Main Course

    Tofu (handmade at Syracuse Real Food Co-op) cutlets braised with wine (Hermann J. Wiemer winery) and herbs (homegrown)

    Sides

    (1) Roasted Butternut Squash (Grindstone Farm) Bisque

    (2) Roasted Brussels Sprouts (Central NY Regional Farmer's Market) and Leeks (Elderberry Pond Farm)

    (3) Mashed Heirloom Potatoes (Elderberry Pond Farm) with Caramelized Onions (Grindstone Farm)

    Bread

    Corn Muffins (New Hope Mills cornmeal) served with Apple (Beak & Skiff Apple Orchard) and Hot Pepper (homegrown) relish

    Fresh-baked Baguette (Pastabilities Restaurant)

    Dessert

    (1) Apple (Beak & Skiff Apple Orchard) and Maple (Grindstone Farm) Compote

    (2) Pumpkin (Central NY Regional Farmer's Market) Purée Mousse

    Beverages

    Riesling Wine from the Finger Lakes Wine Region (Hermann J. Wiemer Winery)
    Warm Mulled Apple Cider (Beak & Skiff Apple Orchard)
    Fresh Organic Apple Juice (juiced at home using Heirloom Apples from Elderberry Pond Farm)

    * * *

    Sources

    Beak & Skiff Apple Orchard

    http://www.beakandskiff.com/
    (315) 677-5105

    Elderberry Pond Farm

    http://www.elderberrypond.com/
    3728 Center Street Road
    Auburn, NY 13021
    315-252-3977
    Grindstone Organic Produce Farm

    http://www.grindstonefarm.com/
    Telephone (315) 298-4139
    Email address GSForganic@aol.com

    Address 780 County Route 28
    Tinker Tavern Road
    Pulaski, NY 13142-2471

    Hermann J. Wiemer Winery

    http://www.wiemer.com/
    west side of Seneca Lake, 14 miles north of Watkins Glen and approximately 20 miles south of the center of Geneva, N.Y.
    Telephone: 800-371-7971
    Fax: 607-243-7983
    Mail: PO Box 38, Dundee NY 14837
    E-mail: wines@wiemer.com

    New Hope Mills

    New Hope Mills Inc.
    Addr: 5983 Glen Haven Road, Moravia, NY 13118
    Phone: (315) 252-2676
    http://www.newhopemills.com/
    Email: sales@newhopemills.com

    Pastabilities Restaurant and Bakery

    http://www.pastabilities.com
    311 S. Franklin St.
    Syracuse NY 13202
    (315) 474-1153

    Central New York Regional Farmer's Market

    www.nyfarmersmarket.com
    2100 Park St
    Syracuse, NY 13208
    (315) 422-8647

    Syracuse Real Food Co-op

    www.syracuserealfood.coop
    618 Kensington Rd
    Syracuse, NY 13210
    (315) 472-1385


  • Green LA girl Siel loved Bahar's menu, ranking it as her overall favorite, "This Thanksgiving feast is not only all vegetarian, but also all from within 100 miles of Syracuse, and almost all organic. The main course: tofu (handmade at the Syracuse Real Food Co-op) cutlets braised with wine (Hermann J. Wiemer winery) and homegrown herbs. That's complemented by mashed heirloom potatoes with caramelized onions and topped off by apple and maple compote and pumpkin purée mousse — among other yummy veggie delights."

We would like to thank all of our finalists for their savory recipes and contest sponsor Organic Valley for making the contest possible.

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