ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — If there is one American holiday that has a direct link to agriculture it is Thanksgiving.

At its most basic, it is a celebration of an ample harvest.

One question many in the Roanoke region have is: “How do I put a taste of Virginia into my holiday menu?”

Maybe the easiest way is to purchase a fresh turkey from a Virginia poultry producer, or to buy one from a local butcher that deals with local poultry farmers.

According to Ty Thomas of Yard Bull Meats in Roanoke, this has been a good year for local turkeys: “They have been thriving this year and they’re coming in bigger, fatter, juicier than normal.”

Thomas and Yard Bull feature fresh Virginia turkeys for preorder. They have a few left. While you will pay more for a fresh bird, there is a benefit to dealing with a local producer or meat market.

“One thing we’re proud of at the shop is transparency,” said Thomas. “We know who produces the turkey, what it’s been fed, the land it’s raised on, who’s handled them every step of the way.”

Chefs and cooking experts also say fresh turkeys have a better flavor and that many frozen birds come from out of state and have been in a deep freeze for weeks and even months.

Two other ways to put a little bit of the commonwealth on your Thanksgiving plate are country hams or pumpkins. Some of the best country hams are produced in Virginia. Virginia is also a top grower of pumpkins on the east coast, and they are in good supply this season.

Turkeys on a Virginia turkey farm in Franklin County (Photo: George Noleff)