Where to Go Food Shopping for Thanksgiving in Philly
Where to get the goods for your turkey day table, from the bird to the cranberries to the pumpkin pie.
Sure, you can source ingredients for a serviceable Thanksgiving feast from Acme or Trader Joe’s — but for us, the biggest food holiday of the year is the perfect time to spend a little more time and effort on ingredients from Philly institutions, local farmers, and specialty spots. Here’s our guide to the best places to shop for your Thanksgiving ingredients in Philadelphia.
First things first: the bird. It’s the centerpiece of your meal, quite possibly the priciest item on your table come dinnertime next Thursday, and the metric by which your friends and family will judge your holiday feast. As for technique, we like to spatchcock and dry brine our turkey for a few days before roasting — or, if you’ve got the equipment and the outdoor space, try smoking your bird on the grill.
Though the Fair Food Farmstand, long the discerning home cook’s one-stop shop for local and heirloom birds, is no longer in business, you still have some great options. Be Well Philly outlined some local sources for organic birds here — but we also love the pasture-raised local options offered by Kensington Quarters and Primal Supply Meats.
Pre-order your Primal bird (raised on pasture on non-GMO feed by Gobbler’s Ridge Farm in Lancaster County) by Wednesday, November 14th to pick it up at their East Passyunk shop between Monday the 19th and Wednesday the 21st. You can also ask to pick up your Primal bird from Riverwards Produce in Fishtown on Tuesday the 20th.
At KQ, they’re taking pre-orders for pasture-raised birds sourced from Keiser’s Pheasantry in York County through Sunday, November 18th (unless they sell out first — so get those orders in). Pick up your bird at their Frankford Avenue shop on Monday, November 19th, with farmer Earl Keiser and executive chef Matt Harper on hand with recipes and cooking tips. You can also arrange to get your turkey custom cut (they’ll spatchcock it for you!) or for an early pickup by calling 267-314-5086.
Looking for a heritage breed bird with richer, more flavorful meat? They’re tough to find around here, but the extra effort and cost are worth it. You can preorder pasture-raised Red Bourbon turkeys from Princeton’s Griggstown Farm (plus extras like sides, breads, and their ultra-flaky pies) to pick up at their Headhouse Square Farmers’ Market stand at 2nd and Lombard on Wednesday, November 20th.
Fruits and Veggies
You can’t go wrong with Iovine’s, the produce institution at the southeast corner of Reading Terminal Market. With their wide selection, good prices, and towering mountain of collard greens, it’s a great place to check things off your shopping list. Problem is, literally everyone in Philadelphia descends on Reading Terminal in the days before Thanksgiving — it’s not for the faint of heart. To beat the crowds, order through Instacart or get there early — like before 10 a.m. — and try to do your shopping on Sunday or Monday when the crowds are a little lighter.
Riverwards Produce in Fishtown has done a pretty decent job of filling the void left after Fair Food, sourcing lots of local along with an extensive mix of well-priced produce along with a solid selection of pantry goods, snacks, bulk items, breads, dairy, cheeses, and meats from local farms and makers. Proprietor Vince Finazzo totally reworks the store layout for the holiday. He’ll have all your fall favorites, plus local cranberries, cool heirloom squash and pumpkin varieties like the great-for-soup Thai Kang Kob, and a literal ton (as in 2,000 pounds) of organic sweet potatoes in white, garnet, and purple.
And finally, two of the best farmers’ markets in Philly are still going strong, despite the cold: the Clark Park Farmers’ Market in West Philly will be held on Saturday the 17th and Wednesday the 20th, and Headhouse Square Farmers’ Market in Society Hill has their usual market on Sunday and a special Thanksgiving market on Wednesday.
The Cheese Board
While traditional sides like stuffing, green bean casserole, baked mac ‘n’ cheese, and Brussels sprouts are all well and good, there’s something to be said for glamming up your holiday table a bit with some special, nontraditional goodies. One of our favorite ways to add variety, impress your guests, and (most importantly) save valuable prep time and stove space is to kick things off with a cheese board. Just select a few choice wedges and accompaniments like olives, pickles, honeys, and jams, give your cheeses an hour to relax unwrapped at room temperature before serving, and voila — your first course or cocktail snacks are taken care of.
Di Bruno Bros. is a great place to go for cheeses from all over the globe. But for local wedges from the likes of Birchrun Hills Farm, Valley Milkhouse, Conebella Farm (they make the best raw milk cheddar), and goat cheeses from Shellbark Hollow Farm, hit up the fridges at Riverwards, Primal Supply, Mariposa, or Weaver’s Way Co-op, or visit the aforementioned farmers’ markets.
Breads, Baked Goods, and Sweets
Philly is full of amazing bakeries, but Lost Bread Co. is the one that makes us swoon with just about everything that comes out of their ovens. Stock up on their loaves, rolls, and pastries at these retailers and farmers’ markets and at their Kensington retail space. They’re also making blue corn preserved lemon and a Three Sisters pie (that’s a blue corn crust with spiced sweet bean and pumpkin layers) plus chocolate cherry panettone special for the holiday. Preorder on their new website, which is set to go live this weekend, or email your order to firstname.lastname@example.org to pick up Tuesday at the Rittenhouse Farmers’ Market or Lost’s Howard Street spot, or on Wednesday at the Fountain Farmers’ Market on East Passyunk or at Lost.
Our city is truly #blessed to have an entire restaurant turning out amazing sweet and savory pies all year round. South Street’s fantastic Magpie is offering pre-ordered pies in pumpkin, caramel apple, chocolate coffee cinnamon pecan, and butterscotch bourbon. Order yours here for pickup by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, November 21st.
Li’l Pop Shop is a sleeper hit amongst Philly’s pie spots, with a pastry program that amped up last year. Pre-order pies or their decadent piecaken, a Morello cherry pie baked into a chocolate ganache cake, here (use the code MOREPIE for 10 percent off an order of two or more). The deadline is Sunday, November 18th to pick up at their shop in West Philly or Rittenhouse on Wednesday the 21st.
The Rooster is also doing pie preorders. Hit them up online to get a pumpkin or Dutch apple pie by Monday, November 19th to pick up at their Sansom Street restaurant on Tuesday or Wednesday — call 215-454-6939 with any questions. And Fond has extended its preorder deadline for holiday desserts to the end of the day on Wednesday, November 14th. Check out their offerings — like pies, tarts, spice cookies, and spiced bourbon cake — and place your order by calling 215-551-5000, emailing email@example.com, or dropping by the East Passyunk restaurant.
For a dessert that’s a little different (or for something sweet the morning after), we love Wild Flour Bakery’s pumpkin eclairs, flaky pastry filled with pumpkin custard and topped with a cream cheese icing. Pre-order their pastries, pies, or loaves to pick up at one of their farmers’ markets (details and instructions here). Essen Bakery’s gorgeous fresh fruit tarts and babka in cinnamon hazelnut or chocolate halva can also seamlessly transition from dessert to breakfast. Call them at 215-271-2299 to preorder with at least three days’ notice.
There’s no wrong season for ice cream — something the good folks at Weckerly’s know well. That’s why they make a special line of Thanksgiving-themed mini ice cream sandwiches and pints in your favorite fall flavors, with cute-as-hell ice cream tarts in apple à la mode and pumpkin pecan new this year. Order yours here and specify your pickup date at checkout — you can grab your goodies at their scoop shop in Fishtown before the holiday.