Many Thanksgivings

Share this post

How has Thanksgiving evolved for you? Is it Norman Rockwell traditional, political, locavore, or perhaps a blend? Whatever your approach, the Wampanoag native people have touched all of our menus. The Wampanoag, or People of the First Light, are credited with welcoming the Mayflower pilgrims. When the pilgrims’ crops of barley and peas failed, the Wampanoag showed them how to plant the Three Sisters—corn, beans, and squash—by first fertilizing the soil, then staggering the three types of seeds into a thriving companionship harvest. Not only did this triumvirate save the lives of the Mayflower pilgrims (the descendants of whom are estimated to be in the tens of millions—as many as 10 percent of the current U.S. population), it also became the core of our national diet.

The indigenous peoples showed newcomers many of the gifts that Mother Earth’s North American soil could grow. From the pilgrims’ first landing to the westward expansion, our cuisine has been enriched by corn, squash, beans, sweet potatoes, cranberries, blueberries, wild rice, pecans, persimmons, strawberries, chilies, and maple syrup, just to name a few. Organizations like Slow Food, Seed Savers, and the numerous farmers who grow heritage crops (some of which you can learn about through The FruitGuys) have been working at keeping this history alive and edible.

The Wampanoag celebrated many thanksgivings throughout the year, including a midwinter ceremony, a maple dance, a planting feast, a strawberry festival, a green corn celebration, and a harvest festival. At each festival, as with many other native nations, there was always an expression of gratitude. By paying attention to the food we eat—where it comes from, how it was grown, and how it ends up on our table—we can say, with them: Taubot neanawayean ohke: “Thank you for Mother Earth.”

Heidi Lewis writes about farms, bees, and fruit from her home in Sonoma County, CA. She's been with The FruitGuys since they were FruitKids.

Learn more about food history!

 

Sign up for our monthly newsletter

 

Recent Food articles:

Make-ahead breakfasts to bring to work with you
June 22, 2017
How to enjoy mobile eateries without guilt
June 6, 2017
From salad to shortcake, ways to enjoy the heart-shaped berry
April 15, 2017
Easy hacks to spice up your packaged food
March 21, 2017
A primer in praise of the potato
February 13, 2017
Blood oranges and kumquats star in a heart-healthy Valentine’s Day dinner
January 19, 2017
Craft cocktail–inspired mocktails for your holiday parties
December 12, 2016
Tips for making your best latkes and applesauce ever
November 16, 2016
Brighten the season with homemade citrus gifts
November 15, 2016
How to pick a peck of pumpkins (and other winter squashes)
October 26, 2016

More recent articles:

Music-focused workouts to get your fitness groove on
June 15, 2017
Developing foot strength for functional living
April 25, 2017
Put down that pill!
April 24, 2017
An affordable approach to a healthy workplace
April 24, 2017
The FruitGuys boosts small farms’ impact on environmental, economic, and community health
April 12, 2017
How to stay sane and productive while telecommmuting
April 12, 2017
Help coworkers of all stripes get along and be productive
March 27, 2017

About Us

Our monthly online magazine features articles about fitness, health, food, and work, as well as recipes featuring farm-fresh fruit!