Your Pandemic Thanksgiving Co-op Shopping Guide

Kathleen Casey, Weavers Way Development Manager

According to a survey sent to Weavers Way members, the vast majority of us plan to have a smaller Thanksgiving gathering this year, and therefore a smaller turkey. Here’s the tricky part: Will the turkeys cooperate?

Our Purchasing Manager, Norman Weiss, started having conversations a while back with our main turkey farm, Esbenshade’s of Lancaster County, about growing smaller turkeys this year. But we can still expect some too-big-for-the-pandemic turkeys — and lots of leftovers. 

To help avoid that, we are bringing in additional offerings, such as organic frozen turkeys and turkey breasts. As an alternative, you may want to consider a duck or ham from the Co-op this year. We have also increased our orders on vegan Thanksgiving products and expanded our Prepared Foods menu.

That takes care of the main part of the meal. But what about everything else? How can we adapt so that we get what we need and avoid lines and crowds? Can we create better lists so as to avoid the “I forgot something” panic shop on Wednesday evening? 

As someone who hates planning meals in advance (I only commit to answering the daily kid desperate inquiry “what’s for dinner?” by 5 p.m. on any given day), here is an outline of what might help:

First Week of November:

  • Buy non-perishables — baking needs, spices, broth or stock, canned pumpkin, bread cubes, crackers for appetizers, salt and pepper, cooking oils and vinegars. You can probably also get your onions, garlic and potatoes — just store them in a cool, dark place. 

Also, make sure to place your fresh turkey, prep foods or pie order! 

Second and Third Weeks of November:

  • Since you shop at the Co-op, you can get away with buying some non-perishables because they haven’t traveled across an ocean! Two-week-old veggies from our stores are about equivalent to one-week-old veggies from a conventional store. Trust me; I have tested the life span of nearly every vegetable at the Co-op, given my tendency to buy too much and/or change my mind about the week’s menu, and it is pretty amazing how long things last.

A possible list: 

  • Brussels sprouts, carrots, celery, cranberries, apples or pears 
  • Oranges and sweet potatoes
  • Butter (throw in the freezer if you prefer)
  • Whipped cream (Check the date on the label)
  • Ice cream

You can grab your Tofurky or Field Roast this week, too. And if you serve appetizers, you can get away with stocking up on cornichons, charcuterie and many cheeses, too. 

Sunday through the Wednesday before Thanksgiving:

These are the days for getting green beans, fresh breads, milk, pies, prepared foods, flowers for the table, and fresh — never frozen — local turkeys.

Here are some ways to safely get what you need:

  • Order online for curbside pickup or delivery; we will be delivering through Wednesday. 
  • Shop at odd times — right when we open at 8 a.m. or after 6:30 p.m. If you have to stick with daytime, try mid-afternoon.
  • Don’t do a big shop when you pick up your turkey on Tuesday or Wednesday — make that a time to only get your turkey plus a few odds and ends. 
  • We hope to have items that are typically bought right before Thanksgiving outside under a tent, with outdoor payment options, to avert some indoor crowding.

However you choose to go about having — or not having — a holiday meal this year, may your Thanksgiving be healthy and full of good cheer.