Thanksgiving Toronto

My Green Toronto Thanksgiving

With the arrival of the first long weekend of fall, I suspect I'm not the only one digging out my stretchy and loose-waisted pants in preparation for the day of overindulgence that typifies Thanksgiving. This year I'm hoping to start a new tradition among family and friends by providing a planet-friendly feast.

The greenest Thanksgiving doesn't involve meat, but since a bird-shaped soy log isn't likely to please Tryptophan-seeking guests, an organic and free-range turkey is a great alternative. Whole Foods, The Healthy Butcher, The Big Carrot and Beretta Organics carry free-range birds raised without pesticides, antibiotics, or hormones.

The second stop on my shopping list is my local farmer's market, where I'm hoping to fill my reusable cloth bags with organic Brussels sprouts, carrots and taters. I can further reduce my Thanksgiving's ecological footprint with the use of other local foodstuffs.

I'm no wine expert, but nothing pleases my palate more than a glass of organic wine or beer, and Turkey Day is no exception. Frogpond Farm winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake produces wines that are organically grown, processed and certified by organic crop producers and processors.

Malivoire's Moira vineyard on the Niagara peninsula has operated under organic certification since 2004. The LCBO also sells a number of organic wines, both local and imported. For beer drinkers, Toronto's own Mill Street Brewery makes its Organic Lager using organic hops and brewers' malt grown without the use of pesticides, insecticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers.

In truth, the thought of producing a Thanksgiving meal by myself is scarier than watching horror flicks on Halloween. There are a few "green" caterers in the city that might save me from embarrassment. Vert Catering offers organic and natural menus with fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. They support the community by donating to charity, compost and recycle all excess food, use AutoShare vehicles for transportation, and provide biodegradable tableware if needed.

Hearty Catering specializes in vegetarian dishes prepared with organic and seasonal ingredients that promote local producers. Worst-case scenario: I can pre-order cooked turkey (or a vegan meal) with all the trimmings from Whole Foods.

Photos from angiemckaig and Gabe Toth on Flickr.

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