SHERIDAN — This year, several Sheridan families will feast on a Thanksgiving dinner made entirely from locally sourced foods.
Cross E Dairy and Freedom Foods Thanksgiving local food packages include stuffing mix from a French bakery east of town, herbs grown in a Sheridan greenhouse, late-season vegetables grown in Banner and more .
“It can be hard to understand that you can get local foods for a full meal, especially a holiday meal,” said Shawna Hampshire of Cross E Dairy, a Main Street market that offers food from 28 local growers, from fresh vegetables and meat to produce. locally made baked goods.
“Several of our growers got together and said, let’s promote a Thanksgiving package and let people know that they can make all the local foods for a complete holiday meal,” he said.
This was the store’s first attempt to sell a pre-selected meal kit around the holidays and they sold out quickly. Options included an entrée of turkey, chicken, rib or vegan tamales, with buns, fillings, potatoes, carrots, onions, squash, mushrooms, lettuce, and options for desserts and microgreens, all from local growers.
“It’s not hard for us to find all these foods locally,” Hampshire said. “These are all vendors that we work with on a regular basis, and we can get most of these Christmas foods here.”
Some seasonal items, like squash and vegetables, may be the last of the season. Local meats, he said, are often available year-round in Wyoming.
“People are definitely more interested than ever in local food,” Hampshire said. “People are wondering where their food comes from and how they can get it locally, especially with shortages at other stores. I was told last week that the major grocery stores are running out of eggs and people can’t find them. People now realize that they can take advantage of local food sources.”
With inflation hitting many grocery stores, Hampshire said the price of local food is now comparable to mass-produced food. Local produce, she said, also tends to last much longer than food trucked in.
“There are people who comment on how long our milk lasts and how long vegetables last when they come right here from the ground,” he said. “Papa Joe’s Lettuce can last a good 10 days.”
Hampshire said Cross E Dairy and Freedom Foods will consider making a Christmas food box after Thanksgiving. As the store continues to experiment and grow, similar stores are popping up all over Wyoming, from Riverton to Gillette.
“I wish every little community in Wyoming had their own store like we do. It just opens up a whole realm of possibilities for buyers, but also for people who have a heart for growing and raising animals,” Hampshire said.