Six Insights into Creating a Locally Sourced Holiday Meal
Kevin Atticks, DCD, ’97, Maryland’s Secretary of Agriculture, Shares Expertise
Kevin Atticks, DCD, director of Apprentice House Press and affiliate assistant professor of communication, became Maryland’s Secretary of Agriculture in February 2023. Atticks came into the role with a wealth of agriculture knowledge as the executive director of the Maryland Wineries Association, the Brewers Association of Maryland, and the Maryland Distillers Guild; and as the founder of Grow & Fortify, a consulting firm that supports value-added agriculture.
Atticks, who graduated from Loyola in 1997 with a B.A. in Communication, shares with Loyola magazine readers the importance of—and six tips for—supporting local agriculture while preparing holiday meals.
No matter where you are celebrating this holiday, you can construct a glorious meal using local ingredients, such as locally raised turkey, or locally grown greens, potatoes, beans, fresh-baked bread, and more.
The reputation of the holiday meal is that of a centerpiece turkey and a half dozen sides. Given the cacophony of flavors, wine pairings can be complicated, so I often opt for multiple offerings to match.
Support Your Community
Simply through the act of choosing to purchase regional products, you are investing your dollars in your surrounding community. Plus, a local shopping list drastically reduces the environmental impact of your shopping.
If you are lucky, you have local retailers that wholeheartedly support nearby farms and producers. That said, it’s best to go directly to the farmers or producers, so that your support can have the greatest impact. Search online for seasonal products or visit a nearby farmers’ market, which should run through Thanksgiving.
A commitment to buying local does—in some sense—take us back to the days of old, where we might walk to the local market to see what is in season. Might there be compromises? Of course. You might not be in a cranberry-growing region or able to source celery root for grandma’s special soup.
Any step you take toward buying local provides valuable support to your area’s economy. It’s an opportunity to give thanks to those who have dedicated their lives and careers to serving and feeding the community.