The holidays are just around the corner, and part of the fun of the holiday season is fantastic meals shared with family and friends. Shopping ‘local’ for all your meal ingredients has become more popular in recent years. Whether you’re planning to serve a traditional turkey and all the trimmings, or a prime rib roast or ham, you can find everything you need from local suppliers.
Turkeys are a popular choice for both Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday dinners. Finding local turkeys is easy when you know where to look.
One option is Dillner Family Farms in Gibsonia. The family farm is known for its pasture-raised meats and fresh fruits and vegetables. This year, they’ve decided to add turkeys to the list of ingredients that customers can buy from them. “We had the opportunity to work with a local turkey farm, and we are thrilled to offer them to our customers,” said Jane Dillner.
Why buy a fresh turkey instead of a frozen store-bought brand?
“Supporting local businesses is very important, and knowing where your food comes from is, too,” said Dillner. “These turkeys are raised locally and all naturally, without antibiotics or hormones.” Turkeys bought at Dillner’s are available for pickup at their farm market and are fresh, never frozen.
Dillner’s plans to take orders for turkeys until they run out of available supply. Visit www.DillnerFamilyFarms.com to place an order.
Another place for locally sourced fresh turkey is Wagner’s Market in Allison Park. Co-owners Luke and Dan Wagner said that shopping local is more than a saying to them—it’s the very foundation of their family business.
“Both of our dads were firm believers in buying from as many local vendors as possible,” said Luke Wagner. “We’re a family-owned business that supports other family businesses when possible.”
Before November 10, customers can place an order at Wagner’s for fresh turkeys from a local farm. Their turkeys come in a variety of sizes to accommodate even the largest guest list. As a bonus, Wagner’s deli makes a mouth-watering homemade stuffing to go with your holiday turkey. You can order both by calling the store or stopping in at their 4978 Middle Road location.
Meal planners serious about taking the ‘shop local’ mantra to extremes can find other locally produced items at Wagner’s to complement their holiday feasts. From Goat Rodeo Farm & Dairy cheese to Pittsburgh Pickle Company pickles and La Prima Espresso coffees, you can find a variety of local products on the shelves there.
When seeking ingredients for side dishes and desserts, head over to Harvest Valley Farms in Gibsonia. Art King said that his customers can find everything they need for salads, including lettuce, spinach, and radishes. The farm market also sells fall squash, local apples, potatoes, and Brussels sprouts.
“Western Pennsylvania grows some of the best-tasting fruits and vegetables in the world,” said King. “So, if flavor is important to you, shop local and get the best for your guests.”
If making dessert isn’t one of your culinary skills, you can get some of the tastiest homemade pies at Harvest Valley Farms. “Our pies are free of artificial preservatives, but the most important feature of our pies is quite simply more fruit,” said King.
He advises ordering items from Harvest Valley Farms several weeks before they’re needed. “Just call our market at 724-898-3276,” he said.
Don’t forget about choosing the right beverages to go with your holiday meals. The adults on your guest list will appreciate an award-winning cider or mead from Arsenal Cider House of Pittsburgh. This U.S. Civil War-themed winery specializes in small-batch, hand-crafted hard apple cider, cider-style fruit and grape wines, and mead.
Co-owner Michelle Larkin said that two of their products are especially popular during the holidays. The first is called Snowbound Cinnamon, made from apples sourced locally from Soergel Orchards. “It tastes like boozy apple pie,” said Larkin. “People just love it.”
Arsenal Cider House produces Snowbound Cinnamon twice a year. Once for “Christmas in July” and again in November through February.
Another of its popular offerings is Cavalryman Cranberry, with fruit sourced from a berry farm in Erie. It’s released annually in November and remains until inventory runs out.
Meal planners who relish trying something new and different might want to include mead as an after-dinner drink, Larkin said. Mead is made from fermented honey and contains 11 percent alcohol. “They are wine-like but are sweet. They pair well with desserts,” she said.
She added that holiday meals featuring red meats like prime rib roast pair well with Zuzu Bone Dry Blue Berry. “It drinks like a red wine that would go well with prime rib or any other red meat.”
Holiday meal hosts who like the idea of sourcing local but hate the thought of preparing all that food themselves have another option for keeping it close to home. A.W. Beattie Career Center’s culinary arts department prepares a traditional turkey meal with all the trimmings.
“We get our supplies for the meal from local suppliers,” said Aaron Yurek, culinary arts instructor. “It is beneficial to get from local suppliers because it helps the local economy, and the product is usually a little cheaper.”
Place orders for Beattie’s turkey dinners-to-go by calling 412-847-1933 or via email at aaron.yurek@ beattietech.com. Orders are taken until Friday, Nov. 18.