How to Have a Locally-Sourced Thanksgiving Feast in the Lowcountry

A Lowcountry Turkey Day spread
A Lowcountry Turkey Day spread Didriks
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Charleston’s farm-to-table movement is flourishing. If you live here and haven’t noticed, just look outside. You’ll probably see one of the many famous chefs in this city buying fresh produce from the back of an old pick-up truck, or said pick-up truck riding down the road with radish greens and collards flying out of the truck bed. It has been exciting to watch our community take a stand for buying and consuming local goods, and supporting the local farms and purveyors that truly care about providing the best food possible.

If you haven’t looked into one of the many CSA’s (community supported agriculture) available to you, we would highly recommend checking out your options. If CSA’s sound a little too heady for your taste, or you’d rather buy your goods from an actual store, never fear. The food movement has generated a handful of food hubs, where you can buy local produce without ever leaving downtown—a true testament to how supporting your local economy helps build stronger, better connected communities.

Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to try preparing your meals from local, seasonal produce. The picking is still in full swing, and it’s also a fun activity to do with your family. It’s much easier to appreciate a meal that you sourced, prepared, and cooked yourself, and Thanksgiving is the best time to share that sense of culinary accomplishment with the ones you love.Below are a few ideas to consider when sourcing your Turkey Day spread. Lucky for you, all of these destinations are within 30 minutes of downtown Charleston, and just so happen to yield the best produce and provisions in the state. Start a new tradition this year, and prepare a true Lowcountry Thanksgiving feast.

Farmer’s Market

An early fall morning at the Marion Square Farmer's Market
An early fall morning at the Marion Square Farmer's Market Charleston's TheDigitel

The Marion Square Farmer's market is a one-stop shop for all things local to Charleston. Every farm in the area sets up shop here on Saturday morning, and displays their best for anyone to buy. Here you can find produce, locally sourced meat, eggs, baked goods, and more. It's also a great scene with live music, friendly people, and the area's best food trucks and tents.

Source a Farm Raised Turkey

This one is a little tricky, and requires some research. A lot of farms in the area that raise chickens also raise turkeys just for Thanksgiving. Check out the list of farms on the Marion Square Farmer's Market website , and call around to see which ones have turkeys available. If you want to ensure you're eating a quality, humanely raised, delicious turkey, source it from somewhere reliable-like a local farm. If you're not into processing the turkey yourself, take it to Meat House , and they will take care of the dirty work for you.

The Veggie Bin

Carrots for days, fresh from the farm.
Carrots for days, fresh from the farm. Jay Bush

The Veggie Bin is exactly what it sounds like, a small, little store with loads of veggies from all area farms. They also sell local goods like seasonings, drinks, and packaged goods. This is the next-best option if you do not feel like heading out to John's Island and picking your food straight from the dirt. The Veggie Bin is the perfect example of the vibe the local food movement has brought to Charleston-a homey, casual, fresh take on the classic neighborhood grocery.

Farm Visit

Want to make sure your Thanksgiving meal is 100% legitimate? Go pick it yourself. Bring the family along, get your hands dirty, and go grocery shopping the old fashioned way. Most of the farms on John's Island and Wadmalaw Island will allow you to check out their walk-in coolers to shop for your food. It's a fun alternative to the grocery store, and the people you meet at the farms are the best around-they're passionate about eating local, and share the stoke with whoever visits the farm.

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