Thanksgiving Countdown: Prep Ahead

Peggy Paul Casella, Resident Wordsmith (and Farmstand Associate)

To some, Thanksgiving might seem far away, but if you're the one hosting (or if you've been tasked with preparing a large portion of the meal), these next few weeks will zip by in no time. Good thing the Fair Food Farmstand's got your back. The 'stand is brimming with all the fresh vegetables, flours, dairy products, and cheeses you'll need. And with four different naturally raised turkeys and a variety of specialty birds available for pre-order, along with fresh breads and desserts, ice cream, and even oysters, we're here to ensure that your Thanksgiving is a delicious, locally sourced success. Click here to pre-order your turkey and treats today!

Here's a handy schedule to help you plan ahead and prevent a holiday meltdown:

2 to 3 weeks before:

  • Figure out what you're making or bringing for Thanksgiving, and delegate other dishes/tasks if necessary
  • Pre-order your turkey, sides & desserts
  • Make and freeze dough for pies
  • Assemble your apple or other non-dairy pie completely (but don't bake it), place it in an airtight plastic bag, pan and all, and stick it in the freezer
  • Make and freeze any non-dairy soups or stews
  • Make and freeze cranberry sauce
  • Make and freeze turkey stock and gravy
  • Make and freeze pumpkin puree for pie
  • Bake and freeze breads and dinner rolls
  • Take inventory of your dinnerware, serving pieces, linens, etc., and purchase or borrow anything you'll need the day of

1 week before:

  • Write out your entire menu, including the dishes you're making and those others are bringing
  • Create a cooking schedule for the day of
  • Print out or make copies of all the recipes you will be making
  • Create a grocery list
  • Clean out your fridge

2 to 3 days before:

  • Pick up your turkey and let it defrost if necessary
  • Do your grocery shopping
  • Remove all frozen dishes/components from the freezer and place them in the refrigerator to defrost
  • Cut up all of the vegetables you'll need for each recipe and refrigerate them in separate airtight containers, labeled with the name of the dish they belong to
  • Make your brine (if desired)
  • Place wine and beer in the refrigerator or another cold place to chill
  • Clean the house

The day before:

  • Bake any pies and/or other desserts
  • Prep any remaining ingredients for your recipes (Pre-measured spices can be stored in airtight plastic bags on the counter, and pre-cut herbs can be stored in airtight containers in the fridge)
  • Prep stuffing and other side dish recipes for the oven; cover and refrigerate
  • If you're not already brining your turkey, season it inside and out with generous amounts of salt and pepper, cover with foil, and refrigerate overnight
  • Make dressing and wash, dry, and chop lettuce and vegetables for salad; refrigerate the components in separate airtight containers
  • Decorate and set the table

Thanksgiving Day:

  • Remove the turkey from the refrigerator in the morning and let it stand at room temperature
  • Roast the turkey
  • Bake the stuffing and any other casseroles and/or side dishes
  • Heat up the gravy and any other pre-made dishes
  • During dinner, rewarm pies and other hot desserts in the oven