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Thanksgiving in Colorado: Buying Local for the Holidays

By Emily Krempholtz

Small businesses need our help more than ever this year, and as Thanksgiving approaches, it’s a great time to think about how grateful you are for the abundance of industries we enjoy here in Colorado. So from turkey to centerpieces, keep it local this Thanksgiving. The result you’ll achieve will be twofold—you can say thank you to local producers, and enjoy a fantastic, delicious meal with your loved ones, with the knowledge that you sourced the ingredients from small local farms and businesses. 

The Meal

Dinner is the showstopper at Thanksgiving, and while traditions might vary from household to household, there are a few timeless classics that you can find on most American tables. Luckily for you, Colorado is here to provide them. When it comes to turkey, you can go two routes—source it from the farm itself, or buy your turkey from a shop or butcher that locally sources their meat. Marczyk Fine Foods is one such option you’ll find in Denver that sources their turkeys locally from Ambrosia Farms in Bennett, CO, as well as Blackbelly Butcher in Boulder, which sources from Peterson Turkey Farm in Lakewood. If you want to buy from the farm itself, try Jodar Farms in Fort Collins, or Serendipity Farmstead in Boulder, but act fast, because turkeys sell out quick around this time of year!

 For many, Thanksgiving is about the side dishes, and Colorado won’t disappoint you there, either. Check out your local farmer’s market for some great local veggies and produce to use in your casseroles and salads. Many are closed for the season by this time of year, but you might also find some luck at your local grocery store or marketplace, especially small, organic shops or natural food grocery stores.

If you’re spending Thanksgiving alone or you’re not much of a cook, you can also support a local restaurant by getting your Thanksgiving meal to go. Many restaurants offer a full Thanksgiving feast, which you can order ahead of time for pickup. Check out some of your favorite bars, taverns, and restaurants in your area, because it’s a fantastic way to support a local business and also enjoy an amazing Thanksgiving meal… without having to do any of the work yourself!

local thanksgiving colorado

The Drinks

Okay, so this one’s an easy one because as we all know by now, Colorado is home to a flood of craft breweries, distilleries, and wineries. They go all out around the holidays, from an abundance of delicious pumpkin ales and cranberry-infused brews to some pretty wild offerings, like Pump Up the Yams from Bull & Bush or That’s My Yam from Little Machine Brewing, Adam’s F-ing Turkey Beer from 3 Freaks Brewing, and plenty more from around the state. If wine is more your thing, check out some amazing vintages from Carlson Vineyards in palisade, including their crowd-favorite seasonal warm wine beverage, Hot Peach Cobbler in a Mug, or Harvest Spice Cider from Red Fox Cellars. Grab a bright, fruity red wine and a packet of mulling spices, and make a pot of mulled wine that will keep everyone feeling warm and cozy (especially if you’re ventilating your home with open doors and windows to protect your guests from COVID!). Local distilleries have some fantastic options, too. Make your own Plumpty Dumpty (plum, pear, and maple syrup) or The Bright Cider Life (cider, citrus, maple pumpkin spread) with Stranahan’s Whiskey, or a Spiced Pear Rum with Red Cliff’s rum from Honey House Distillery. Your options are pretty much endless here, limited only by your own preferences. 

The Dessert

This is another big one, and you won’t want to do without a classic pumpkin or apple pie on Thanksgiving. Not everyone is well-versed in the art of baked goods in the kitchen, and some others might be so preoccupied with making a fantastic feast that they simply don’t have time. But that’s alright because Colorado bakers are capable of picking up the slack for you. Call your local bakery and see if they’re offering Thanksgiving desserts for pickup—many offer a range of pies, cakes, cheesecakes, and pastries, but like your turkey, you’ll want to call now and order it, because these bakeries often have a limited number of baked goods they can make for the holidays. Check and see if they’re offering any special deals for the holidays, and gorge yourself well, knowing that you’re supporting a local business in these tough times. 

The Ambiance

local thanksgiving colorado

Last but not least, there’s the ambiance itself. Maybe you’ll want to create a beautiful fall centerpiece with flowers from a local Colorado florist, or maybe you can check out the work of a local artisan or craft maker for Thanksgiving napkin rings, serving platters, or tablecloths. Locally-made decor can be often be found in small boutique shops (and by buying from them, you’ll be supporting the artist AND a local business!), at craft fairs, or online, and not only will your home look beautiful for the holidays, but you’ll find that your decorations are entirely unique and unlike anyone else’s. 

Celebrating Thanksgiving

No matter how you set your table or serve your loved ones, Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for all we have. Here in Colorado, we have a diverse population, landscape, and economy, and we can celebrate all of those things at once by buying from local businesses this holiday season and celebrating a local Colorado Thanksgiving.

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