MOUNT VERNON — Carrying on a 26-year tradition, Skagit Valley College culinary arts students prepped Thanksgiving meals from scratch this week for 38 Skagit County families.

The menu included roasted turkey, stuffing with homemade bratwurst, mashed potatoes, green bean salad, a vegetable platter, cranberry sauce, rolls, gravy and three kinds of pie — apple, pumpkin and pecan.

New to the menu this year was a grain salad and a “gourd mash,” a casserole made from several varieties of winter squash grown in the college’s culinary garden.

Though it takes about 20 hours to cook the meals, students begin prepping ingredients for the feast at the start of the quarter, said Lyn Highet, the culinary program’s food services manager.

Eighteen culinary arts students — nine each in the culinary and baking and pastry programs — were hard at work Wednesday morning preparing the holiday meals. Students sliced cucumbers, shaped rolls and cut up homemade bread for the stuffing.

As he peeled carrots Wednesday, student Johah Gae said the culinary kitchen has all the equipment needed to prepare the 38 Thanksgiving meals.

“I just like that I get to be part of something helpful,” he said.

Student Zormorio Atencio was part of second group of students packing homemade rolls and pies on Wednesday.

“It just feels good to give back, and this is the career we want to be doing,” he said.

Members of the college’s Veterans Club have volunteered to deliver the meals to families on Thanksgiving Day.

— Reporter Jacqueline Allison: jallison@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2145, Twitter: @Jacqueline_SVH