Slow Food USA: Harvest Celebrations Across the USA

The Origins of Thanksgiving
Native CornOver the centuries, Thanksgiving has become a special day to share a home-cooked meal with loved ones and an offering of thanks for our blessings. In many ways, Thanksgiving is the quintessential “Slow Food” holiday. And yet, as many of us know, Thanksgiving has a complicated and controversial past. As we celebrate with family and friends, it’s worth remembering the complexity and suffering from which our modern holiday of love, food and family was born.

Many of us are familiar with the story of the first Thanksgiving: Pilgrims celebrated a
successful harvest after a few years of starvation and struggle together with friends from the Wampanoag Nation. That harvest was made possible thanks to the knowledge, seeds and traditional farming practices that the Native Americans shared with the newly arrived settlers.

What many of us don’t know is the story that followed in the intervening years
between that celebration and the holiday of family, food and giving that many of us are familiar with today. Following nearly two decades of peace, newly arrived Europeans began massacres of native peoples across the northeast over issues of land rights and ownership. (These killings were widely condemned by the original Pilgrims – many of whom were expelled from the society for voicing their opposition).

After one particularly successful massacre in what is now Connecticut, settlers gathered for a feast of “thanksgiving” – giving thanks for their victory over the native peoples. This is the tragic story of the second Thanksgiving. In subsequent years, as the killings across the northeast took on a frenzy, settlers held feasts of thanksgiving after each successful slaughter. By many accounts, George Washington brought order by declaring one day to be celebrated across the nation as “Thanksgiving Day.” Thanksgiving then became an official state holiday during the Civil War when Abraham Lincoln declared that it would fall on the fourth Thursday of every November.

Though none of us alive today took part in these atrocities, it is important to know the full context of the holiday in order to understand why some people find it difficult to celebrate. It is through this awareness that we bring thoughtfulness and true thanksgiving to our enjoyment.

About this Project
The purpose of this project is to celebrate the diversity of food cultures and harvest traditions that are rooted in the land and people across the United States. We acknowledge that we were only able to highlight a small sample of the rich variety available.

explore the map

Learn more about the original Thanksgiving:

  • Thanksgiving: Its True History [warning: graphic discussion of massacres]
    A Native American perspective on the history of the holiday.
    Source: Tidewater Native American Support Group, Inc.
  • Debunking Pilgrim Myths 
    Nathaniel Philbrick dispels some of the myths surrounding the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving, including the date of that dinner, what was eaten and what it was called.
    Source: NPR
  • The True Story of the First Thanksgiving [article]
    A look at the visual images related to the first Thanksgiving and analysis of an eyewitness report.
    Source: Muse from the publishers of Cricket and Smithsonian Magazine
  • First Thanksgiving [for kids]
    Educational resource for talking with kids about Thanksgiving.
    Source: National Geographic Kids
  • What Was on the Menu
    The history of the holiday meal tells us that a tasty bird was always the centerpiece, but other courses have since disappeared from the table.

via Slow Food USA: Harvest Celebrations Across the USA.



Slow Food USA: Keep Growing Slow Food, Even When Tomatoes Have Gone

Keep Growing Slow Food, Even When Tomatoes Have Gone
Nov. 21, 2014

By David Kennedy, Director of Leaf for Life, author of Eat Your Greens (2014) and 21st Century Greens (2011)

In order to photosynthesize and make food, plants need a minimum of both sunlight and warmth. Summer tends to have both. Most of the temperate zone gets about half of its total annual allotment of solar energy over 100 summer days.

Cold weather is very hard on the plants that produce our food. They can’t move to seek shelter the way animals do. Temperatures below the freezing point of water not only stop photosynthesis, they quickly kill many plants. When water within and between the plants cells freezes, sharp ice crystals form that can rupture the cell walls that protect the plant’s key functions.

Keep Growing Slow Food, Even When Tomatoes Have Gone

Mixed mustard greens, courtesy of

And yet, some food can be grown in cold weather. How can kale, collards, mustard greens, Swiss chard, scallions, turnip greens, beet greens, lettuce, and various Asian cabbages and mustards continue producing food long after tomatoes, peppers and zucchinis have closed up shop for the winter? Cold-hardy plants use two different strategies for preventing fatal ice crystals from forming. The most common approach is to lower the freezing point of the water they hold with dissolved sugars and the amino acid, proline. This is like putting salt on icy roads to lower the temperature at which the water freezes. The less common but more amazing trick of cold-hardy crops is the use of specialized “antifreeze” proteins. These are molecules that bind to the surface of tiny ice crystals and prevent them from forming the large sharp crystals that rupture plant cells.

Almost all of the food crops that grow well in cold weather are greens. This is no coincidence. With all plants it is the green leaves that initially create the food. When there is adequate warmth and sunshine most plants can afford to send much of the food formed in their leaves to be saved in roots, as with sweet potatoes, or to make fruits and seeds. Both of these processes require a surplus of carbohydrates to be produced by the leaves, and that surplus is produced in the summer.

With leaf crops we eat the initial stage of production before the plant generates surplus food. Most people think of warm summer days as the time to garden, but leaf vegetables can be successfully grown in much cooler weather. Seeds should be started a bit before the first frost so they can get in some growth before the onset of very cold weather. Once established, the hardiest greens, like Siberian kale, can be grown right through the winter in most locations. A simple cold frame or floating row cover can provide some extra protection against the cold.

Your winter garden will grow very slowly, but it will grow. And the bright flavorful greens that you harvest through the snow are most welcome in the middle of winter. Packing more vitamins, minerals, and protective antioxidants per calorie than any other category of food, winter greens can help keep you healthy and fit till the first buds of spring. Cold weather greens are Slow Food at its best.

via Slow Food USA: Keep Growing Slow Food, Even When Tomatoes Have Gone.

Chipotle to Build 100 School Gardens with Slow Food USA – Eater

The burrito chain is putting $500,000 towards the program. That’s a lot of burritos.

Chipotle is partnering with Slow Food USA to build and support 100 school gardens across the country. According to a press release, the two companies hope to teach kids “where food comes from and how it is prepared.” Chipotle will donate around $500,000 to the cause and, will offer funding to the schools through micro-grants and fundraisers at Chipotle locations.

Local Slow Food USA chapters will provide a “customized curriculum, funding, labor, and other resources to match the needs of the individual schools.” The school gardens will be built in 10 metropolitan areas including Boston, Denver, and Phoenix.

Chipotle has a history of partnering with organizations to teach kids about nutrition. Back in 2012 the burrito chain teamed up with Veggie U to distribute gardening kits to school throughout the country to “show kids the importance of nutrition and agriculture.”

via Chipotle to Build 100 School Gardens with Slow Food USA – Eater.

West Windsor Community Winter Farmers Markets for Slow Food Central New Jersey 2015

Next Market Saturday March 14, 10:00-2:00

Organized by the West Windsor Community Farmers Market for

Slow Food Central New Jersey

In collaboration with the organizers of the West Windsor Community Farmers Market, Slow Food Central New Jersey is proud to announce its tenth season of indoor winter markets.  Visit the market at the D&R Greenway LandTrust in Princeton to discover the season’s best local foods.

slow food markets

Vendor List Updated 3/3/2015
SATURDAY, 3/14 10:00-2:00, D&R Greenway Land Trust’s Johnson Education Center, One Preservation Place, Princeton
Beechtree Farm
Birds & Bees Farm
Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse
Cherry Grove Farm
Chickadee Creek Farm
Davidson Exotic Mushrooms
Frank’s Pickled Peppers
Fulper Family Farmstead
Happy Wanderer Bakery
Hopewell Valley Vineyards
Jams by Kim
O Made Granola
Shibumi Farm
Terhune Orchards
The Artisan Tree
Valley Shepherd Creamery
WoodsEdge Wools Farm
Hard to find winter vegetables, mushrooms, grass fed beef, lamb, honey, variety of cheese, yogurt, bread, baked goods, granola, jam, pickles, salsa, woven fiber products, soap, wine, and more.  Music by Mountainview.  Call 609-933-4452 for additional information.



After mother’s death, Franklin Twp. woman finds comfort as Thanksgiving turkey farmer |

Jessica Isbrecht carried her bathroom scale into a farm field adjacent to the Negri-Nepote turkey+Green+Duchess+Farm.jpgNative Grassland Preserve in Franklin Township and weighed herself on Election Day. She then rounded up the 51 heritage breed turkeys she raised at Green Duchess Farm this season, picked them up individually and weighed herself with them in her arms.

Ultimately, she lifted over 700 pounds.

Although Isbrecht is a third generation farmer, 2014 was her first season at her own farm. She left her family farm in Warren County in 2000, received a B.S. in Biology from University of Delaware and worked as an environmental consultant. Her mother succumbed to a battle with a rare form of lymphoma in 2013. Reeling from the loss and the knowledge this type of blood cancer is hereditary, Isbrecht realized life is short and chose to return to the farming lifestyle she loves.

“ Isn’t it sad how a tragic loss or some tragic event has to happen to make you look at your life and decide that you want to be happy? “ she asked.

Her own happiness has remarkably grown and taken flight with these turkeys. Thinking back over the season she realized, “Being around these animals has been so much fun for me and such a joy which I didn’t expect. I loved spending time with them and watching them.”

“I chose to raise them to try to educate people about the importance of our food system and where our meat is coming from and how it is raised. A lot of people are not as aware as I think they would be,” she said thoughtfully.

Isbrecht settled on raising theBourbon Red turkey, a heritage breed that came close to being extinct after the broad breasted white turkey become the most consumed breed in North America. The Bourbon Red is known for having excellent flavor and foraging capabilities.

Before deciding to raise the breed, though, she had never actually tasted it. She got her chance in September, when she was forced to harvest an injured turkey earlier than expected.

“The turkey that I ate tasted excellent. It is rich flavored. The white meat is closer in proportion to the dark meat. The breasts are not large and round like the grocery store turkeys,” she said.

Isbrecht credits their unique diet for their flavor, adding: “They really have a terroir like in wine.”

At the beginning of the season, Isbrecht admits to being a bit of a mother hen. She checked on them incessantly. Turkey chicks, or poults, need more care during the brooding process than chickens, which she also raises.

Green Duchess Farm is taking orders for turkeys at its website. Choose a fresh small turkey, 7-9 lbs, $80; medium turkey – 10-15 lbs, $120;
large turkey, 16-20 lb, $155. The thirty pounder, extra large turkeys that she struggled to weigh on the scale are sold out.

Read full article: After mother’s death, Franklin Twp. woman finds comfort as Thanksgiving turkey farmer |

The Third Plate by Dan Barber

Have you read “The Third Plate” Yet? Dan Barber is a chef that has really been paying attention on how to source and cook ethically grown really good tasting food. 

The Third Plate
“The Third Plate is grounded in the history of American cuisine over the last two centuries. Traditionally, we have dined on the “first plate,” a classic meal centered on a large cut of meat with few vegetables. Thankfully, that’s become largely passé. The farm-to-table movement has championed the “second plate,” where the meat is from free-range animals and the vegetables are locally sourced. It’s better-tasting, and better for the planet, but the second plate’s architecture is identical to that of the first. It, too, is damaging—disrupting the ecological balances of the planet, causing soil depletion and nutrient loss—and in the end it isn’t a sustainable way to farm or eat.

The solution, explains Barber, lies in the “third plate”: an integrated system of vegetable, grain, and livestock production that is fully supported—in fact, dictated—by what we choose to cook for dinner. The third plate is where good farming and good food intersect.

-The Third Plate.

PEFF Special Event “FED UP” Tonight at 7:30 in Princeton

At the Garden Theater

PEFF Special Event: "FED UP"


Oct 2 2014 - 7:30pm - 9:00pm


The Garden Theatre, 160 Nassau Street

Upending conventional wisdom on weight gain and loss, this hard-hitting documentary exposes a dirty secret of the American food industry – far more of us get sick from what we eat than anyone has previously realized. Filmmaker Stephanie Soechtig and TV journalist Katie Couric uncover why American children will now live shorter lives than their parents.

A discussion facilitated by NOFA NJ Executive Director Camille Miller will follow the screening.

Tickets: $8 General; $6 Members and Students. Please purchase online at or at the theater box office.

Presented in association with the Princeton Environmental Film Festival, The Garden Theatre, NOFA-NJ and The Terra Momo Restaurant Group.

Before and after the screening, Mediterra Restaurant, 29 Hulfish Street, will offer a special three-course prix fixe menu reflecting the spirit of the film. Call 609-252-9680 to reserve. For details visit

NOFA-NJ Fall Harvest Dinner

Join us in celebrating the season with all local food, wines, beer, desserts, drinks from the great Garden State!

Harvest Dinner 2014 Invitation

Harvest Dinner 2014

The Evening will include:

  • Cocktail hour
  • Wines and craft beers
  • Farm-to-Table tastings from over a dozen of New Jersey’s finest restaurants
  • Dessert room of pastries, ice cream and coffee
  • Music and dancing
  • Silent Auction

For more information and to register visit NOFA-NJ

via Fall Harvest Dinner.

Jersey Fresh|Pick Your Own Fruits & Vegetables

The growing season is not over yet! Here are some resources from the Jersey Fresh website to help you find fresh local produce. The key is to buy a lot of what is in season and preserve or store it so that it lasts through the winter. Some of what is still in season includes peppers, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, collards, pumpkin & winter squash, beets, lettuce and apples.

Let’s continue to support our local farmers!

Pick Your Own Fruits & Vegetables

Call Ahead To Avoid Disappointment

October Events at West Windsor Community Farmers Market

The WWCFM is proud to have been voted the Top Celebrated Market in New Jersey and in the Top 100 Nationwide in the 2013, and the just announced 2014 American Farmland Trust “I Love My Farmers Market” Contests. 

First, a reminder of the September 27 Food Writer Day, and a couple of October highlights-

9/27 – Food Writer DayMeet Local & Global Journalists and Writers  for a panel discussion on the ever popular Food Blog

Meet four renowned panelists at 10:00am:

•Katie Parla:  Rome-based journalist and author of Parla Food and travel app Katie Parla’s Rome

•Kit Bornheimer:  Author of The Stout Sprout, a seasonal cooking blog with a kid-friendly twist

•Pat Tanner:  Central Jersey restaurant critic and author of the beloved Dine With Pat column

•Rachel Weston:  Author of Gutsy Gourmet and In Season columns in The Star-Ledger and

          Join this interactive conversation to learn:

          •How to start a food blog and deal with critics

          •What it takes to be a food writer

          •Why would you want to write a blog?

          •And more!

10/4 -  Bring Your Own Bag Day (BYOB) – Bring your own bag to the market, stop by the information tent and receive a free apple from one of our farms.  Learn about the referendum on the November 4th ballot for measuring public opinion a 5-cent fee for plastic bags in Mercer County.  See for more information.

10/11 – Amateur Apple Pie Bake Off Contest –Due to the overwhelming outpouring of peach pies in our August contest, we’ll be hosting an apple pie contest.  Think you make the best apple pie around using NJ apples?  Come show us your stuff!  Pies are due at the market at 10:30am with judging at 11:00am.  First, Second and Third place winners will receive Market Bucks to be used as cash at the farmers market this season.  Amateur bakers only and pre-registration is required.  To register, for more details and rules, please email Judges include Faith Bahadurian, Central NJ restaurant critic, recipe columnist, and NJ Spice blogger; Pat Tanner:  Central Jersey restaurant critic and author of the beloved Dine With Pat column; and professional baker Karen Child (formerly, Village Bakery & Brick Farm Market).

The Market is located in the Vaughn Drive Parking Lot of the southbound side of the Princeton Junction Train Station, one mile from the Alexander Road and Route 1 intersection and half mile walk from the Dinky stop in Princeton Junction.  Parking is always free.

For more information, call 609 933-4452 or email  Be sure to follow the market on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (wwfarmersmarket) for tidbits of great market info and photos.


•           MUSIC: Sicilian Blue


            TWIN W RESCUE SQUAD Free Blood Pressure Screenings

            LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS – Voter Registration Information

WWBPA Bicycle and Pedestrian Information and bicycle registration

CAPITAL HEALTH SYSTEM – Nutritionist on site

•           COOKING DEMO: Dorothy Mullen of The Suppers Program (11am)

•           SPECIAL EVENT: FOOD WRITER DAY – Interactive panel of local and

            Global food writers and journalists discuss food blogging (10am)


•           MUSIC: Larry Tritel


YES, WE CAN FOOD DRIVE Fresh and canned food drive to benefit the Crisis           Ministry of Mercer County

PRINCETON HEALTHCARE SYSTEM  Free Blood Pressure and Health       Screenings

•           NOEMI de la PUENTE – Think Outside the Bag Information and Awareness

•           MASSAGE: The Touch That Heals

•           COOKING DEMO:  Allie O’Brien of Garden State Community Kitchen

•           SPECIAL EVENT: BRING YOUR OWN BAG DAY -  Bring a bag, get an apple and half-price canvas market totes for sale by the farmers market to encourage reusable bag use


•           MUSIC: This Old House


WWBPA Bicycle and Pedestrian Information and bicycle registration

FOWWOS Friends of West Windsor Open Space

YES, WE CAN FOOD DRIVE Fresh and canned food drive to benefit the Crisis           Ministry of Mercer County

TWIN W RESCUE SQUAD Free Blood Pressure Screenings

•           COOKING DEMO:   COOKING 101 with the Farmers Market and township resident, Michael Ogg

•           SPECIAL EVENT: AMATEUR APPLE PIE BAKE-OFF CONTEST (please email for entry information and rules)


•           MUSIC: Ragtime Relics



PRINCETON HEALTHCARE SYSTEM: Free Blood Pressure and Health       Screenings

•           MASSAGE: The Touch That Heals]



•           MUSIC: The Barncats


WWBPA Bicycle and Pedestrian Information and bicycle registration and

Inflatable entertainment in the new Vaughn Lot

TWIN W RESCUE SQUAD Free Blood Pressure Screenings


            featuring West Windsor Township emergency vehicles



•           MUSIC: Carm & John

•           MASSAGE: The Touch That Heals

Please visit for up to date weekly events and our complete farm and vendor roster.  The WWCFM continues to be a popular gathering space each Saturday, rain or shine from 9:00am-1:00pm, for the community as well as neighboring towns, to directly connect with locally owned farms and local food producers.

The Market hosts 15 farms and 10 artisan food and natural product vendors in its 2014 line up.  A wide array of locally grown, raised and produced fruits, vegetables, grass-fed meats, dairy, pastured eggs, honey, woven fibers, flowers, soap, bakery items, sauces, jams, fresh juices, crepes prepared on site and more can be found at the market each week.  In addition, live music and community groups help to round out the overall market experience.