How you can love local this Thanksgiving – Chef Ilona Daniel

Harvest time on Prince Edward Island is truly one of my favourite times of the year. I love the crispness of the air, the way that the kaleidoscope of crimsons, golds and gingers of the changing leaves allows daydreaming to happen readily, and most of all, I adore all the ingredients that come to market at this time of the year.

As the weather begins to cool, we find ourselves ready to gather again around our tables and hearths inside; aromas of delicious foods enveloping as we share stories which bring us nuzzled closer to one another around the table.

When it comes time to plan our festive meals of thanks for the harvest, there is an incredible array of Island businesses from tip-to-tip of PEI to make the meal a memorable one.

Here are my some of my favourites to bring together the elements to create the coziest of atmospheres, the perfect table décor, and the most delicious harvest meal:

Create the mood/atmosphere:

Riverview Market (21 Riverside Dr, Charlottetown, (902) 892-9632)

Kool Breeze Farms (231 Read Dr, Summerside, (902) 436-1900)

Founder’s Hall (6 Prince St, Charlottetown)

Croft: (Banbridge Inn, 105 Capital Dr Apt. 1, Charlottetown)

Branches and Blooms (116 Main Street, Souris, (902) 687-1437)

Home By Caley Joy (250 Water St Suite 103, Summerside)

 

Looking to create a flora narrative for your Thanksgiving gathering? Combining decorative gourds from Kool Breeze Farms along with Mason Jar bouquets in harvest colour themes from Branches and Blooms make for an ideal harvest-themed table.

Alternatively, if you are opting for a modern harvest thankful meal and mood, Croft Shop carries gorgeous vintage stoneware vases and other minimal décor elements perfect for an airy, modern holiday table.

If you are looking for some inspiration, a visit to Founder’s Hall and Home by Caley Joy will surely amp up your atmosphere.


Set the Table:

Village Pottery (10567 PE-6, New London, (902) 886-2473)

Cottage Industry (33 Pond St, Charlottetown, (902) 370-3225)

Island Stoneware (664B Water St E, Summerside, 1 888-734-2529)

Gaudreau Woodworking (11 Grand Pere Point Rd, New Glasgow, (902) 963-2273)

Croft vintage stoneware vases and other minimal décor elements perfect for an airy holiday table

 

Island Stoneware in Summerside is inspired by the colours of the Island landscape. Their dinnerware and serving ware would make a special meal even more spectacular. I especially love the idea of including their “Pasture Green” and “Iron Red” colour palettes for our autumnal dinners.

Village Pottery’s selection of pottery and artwork can enhance any harvest table; let your imagination run wild!

Additionally, if you are at all like me, the rustic element of natural wooden serving ware elements is necessary and Gaudreau Woodworking out of New Glasgow is a bastion of handmade wood serving ware and small wares.


The Main Event:

Country Taste Bakery (5315 Trans-Canada Hwy, Belfast, (902) 659-2479)

Larkin Brothers (20526 TransCanada Hwy Crapaud, (902) 629-4988

Charlottetown Farmer’s Market (100 Belvedere Ave, Charlottetown, (902) 626-3373)

Summerside Farmer’s Market (250 Water St, Summerside, (902) 432-8396)

Gallant’s & Co. Island Food to Go (18 Superior Crescent, Charlottetown, (902) 628-1818)

Stir it Up (Founder’s Hall, Charlottetown, (902) 370-2535)

Preserve Company (2841 New Glasgow Rd, New Glasgow, (902) 964-4300)

Samuel’s (4 Queen St, Summerside, (902) 724-2300)

 

We are Canada’s Food Island, and as such, there’s endless opportunities to gather up Island eats for your dinner party. A stop at either the Charlottetown or Summerside Farmer’s markets is one of the easiest ways to get everything you need for your special Thanksgiving meal. If you are looking for a little help getting the meal together, you can pre-order pumpkin pies from Samuel’s, pick up some thoughtfully crafted sides from Gallant’s, source your plant-based eats from Stir It Up, the bread, pies and pastries from Country Taste Bakery is a definite crowd pleaser, and it is always a tasty choice to stock up on cranberry relish, garlic scape relish and other jams and jellies from the iconic PEI Preserve Company.

Turkey is a must for many holiday makers and ordering your locally raised turkey from Larkin’s is an effortless way to ensure that your holiday table is replete with the absolute best of PEI flavours.

 

My last piece of advice when planning your thanks for the harvest meal, plan ahead. That is what we do in the hospitality industry, and it makes all the difference. Write out shopping lists, order ahead, and peel your potatoes, carrots, and turnips the day before and store them in zipper seal bags with enough water to submerge them. Planning ahead gives you the headspace to be able to enjoy the time with your guests, which is the most important part of any gathering. Support local and show your love for all things PEI!

 

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