Thanksgiving is just around the corner and local turkeys are on the minds of head chefs of the home kitchen. Unfortunately, there is a very limited availability of local turkeys this year. Due to the closing of the nearest poultry processor last year, many farmers opted out of raising turkeys. What will anchor your Thanksgiving meal if you don’t cook a turkey?
Chicken is of course a natural next step to turkey, as it’s also poultry. East Fork Farm at North Asheville Tailgate Market and Fiddler’s Green at Asheville City Market both have whole chickens available. Of course, chickens are much smaller than turkeys, so you will likely have to get more than one to feed all of your guests. Generally the rule of thumb is ¾ to 1 pound of chicken per person, and you will have leftovers.
Holiday hams are a great celebratory alternative to turkeys. Foothills Butchery has hams sourced from Bradley Farms. And Hickory Nut Gap Farm has hams, as well. Both offer online reservations for reserving your holiday centerpiece. Perhaps you want to be bold and bring barbeque into your Thanksgiving meal? In which case, you can find pork shoulder from Dry Ridge Farm (West Asheville Tailgate Market, River Arts District Farmers Market, and Asheville City Market).
Beef tenderloin and brisket are holiday favorites as well, though not as common on Thanksgiving. Dry Ridge Farm will have both of these (while they last) between now and Thanksgiving.
A leg of lamb would be a unique centerpiece option, and a delicious one too. East Fork Farm has these available at North Asheville Tailgate Market.
Looking for locally produced non-meat alternatives? “The Pardon” from No Evil Foods is a great vegan centerpiece choice, but it is not gluten-free. If you need an option that is both vegan and gluten-free, Smiling Hara Tempeh is a great main protein, but it won’t have the same centerpiece visual, and so you may need to get creative to make it Instagram-ready.
Additionally, there are a few farms still with turkeys including Hickory Nut Gap Farm and Dillingham Family Farm. Contact these farms directly to order. Act fast, these birds are sure to fly.
Wondering where are all the vegetables? Check back next week for ASAP’s Thanksgiving side dish guide.
Some markets around the region have begun to close, while others are getting ready to switch locations or hours for the holiday season. To find out about markets near you, visit Farmers Market Closings and Holiday Dates.
Area farmers tailgate markets take place throughout the region. As always, you can find information about farms, tailgate markets, and farm stands, including locations and hours, by visiting ASAP’s online Local Food Guide at appalachiangrown.org.
Prepared by Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project.