... continued from Cover has more vitamins and minerals. Montclair State University researchers showed that local broccoli, for example, had twice the vitamin C of broccoli shipped in from out of the country. The same holds true for other vegetables, fruits, and proteins. Transporting food a shorter distance also lowers carbon emissions, and local food is more likely to be organic because it doesn’t need to hold up for shipping. That means it’s sprayed with fewer harmful pesticides, and, in the case of meat, includes fewer antibiotics. When you buy something at a farmers market, you know exactly where it’s coming from, and, if you have any questions, just ask the farmer. Finally, buying local supports your town’s economy, keeping your neighbors’ jobs safe. Eating locally means eating seasonally, and that makes Thanksgiving the perfect time to experiment with the locavore lifestyle. Because the usual Thanksgiving menu dates back to Colonial times, the menu is already packed with foods available in the fall, like sweet and russet potatoes, pumpkins, and cranberries.
For a compromise friendlier to your pocketbook, opt for a local, organic bird, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be heritage. It comes with a higher price tag than a conventional gobbler, but included in that price are transparency, peace of mind, and a better planet. Just make sure to contact your farmer early — those tasty local birds go fast!
Green beans are a summer vegetable, but local varieties keep well canned or frozen and can be pulled out for an all-local Thanksgiving. For rolls and pie, source local flour or head to your town’s bakery. You can round out your menu with seasonal produce by searching LocalHarvest.com, a database of local farms and their offerings. That just leaves the day’s centerpiece: the turkey. If you’ve never put much thought into choosing a turkey, then it’s time to talk gobblers. On one end of the spectrum is the conventional turkey, which comes from giant factory farms, and on the other is the local, heritage turkey, which can probably be found pecking at the grass near you. Locavores would advocate for heritage birds (ancient breeds with peak rearing, diet, and flavor) as the gold standard, but any small farm is likely to raise its birds better than the ones that supply the grocery store, which often pack thousands of turkeys into sheds, limit their access to sunlight and soil, overfeed them for quicker slaughter, and regularly inject them with antibiotics. Animals have acted as companions to humankind for thousands of years. They’re a near-constant source of companionship, comfort, and aid. Unfortunately, military animals don’t often get the recognition they deserve. One horse, in particular, was essential to the success of her regiment during the Korean War. Meet Sergeant Reckless. Bought for $250 in 1952 by a U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant at a Seoul racetrack, Sergeant Reckless was trained to carry ammunition for the 5th Marine Regiment. Her name was a play on the “recoilless” rifle ammunition she carried and a nod to the daredevil attitude of the soldiers who used them. Reckless was pivotal for her regiment in more ways than one. As Robin Hutton notes in her book “Sgt. Reckless: America’s War Horse,”“Because horses are ‘herd’ animals, the Marines became her herd. She bonded so deeply with them that Reckless would go anywhere and do anything to help her adopted family.”
THE GREATEST AMERICAN WAR HORSE The Legend of Sergeant Reckless
Sergeant Reckless’ greatest achievement occurred during the final stages of the Battle for Outpost Vegas. During the bloody five-day campaign, Reckless made 51 trips to resupply guns over the course of a single day. By the end of the battle, she had carried 386 rounds of ammunition by walking 35 miles through rice paddies and mountain trails. After dropping off the ammunition, Reckless would then bring wounded soldiers back to safety. Reckless was trained to lie down when under fire and avoid barbed wire, and her ability to do so without needing human command saved many lives during the battle. Reckless would close out her war career with two Purple Hearts and the rank of staff sergeant. She spent the rest of her years at Camp Pendleton in California. To learn more about this legendary mare, be sure to check out “Sgt. Reckless: America’s War Horse” by Robin Hutton.
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