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Nell Newman's Organic Thanksgiving

By Kathy Oberman Tracy, November/December 2007

How one meal helped launch one of America’s best-loved organic product lines.


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Do you grow your own food?

At my house in Santa Cruz, California, I grow my own salad greens, raspberries and grapes and, in the summer, amazing fraises du bois. I also have one white peach tree, one pear tree and one Meyer lemon tree. When the pears are ripe—you’ll love this—I put little blow-up mattresses, egg foam and one queen-size mattress under my fruit trees so I don’t lose the fruit when it falls.

What’s on the menu for Thanksgiving this year?

I’m lucky enough to get an organic heirloom turkey through Michel Nischan, who is the chef at the Dressing Room, my father’s year-old restaurant at the Westport Playhouse. This year I’m making a few small changes to our very traditional meal. I’m adding mint and shallots to the peas, pecans and brown sugar to the sweet potatoes, and maple syrup to the pecan pies that my mom makes. Of course we’ll be having stuffing, cranberry sauce and chopped salad, too—all organic, of course.

While the changes sound small, they actually pack huge flavor. The key for me is to keep things kind of simple because I usually fly in the day before Thanksgiving and I’m tired, so these recipes don’t require a lot of time to prepare.



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