The 2016 holiday season is in full swing as shoppers flock to their local groceries, specialty stores, and markets like Reading Terminal in Philadelphia to pick up the trimmings for this weekend’s Thanksgiving feasts.

“We call Thanksgiving all hands on deck,” said Ann Karlen, founding director of Fair Foods.

fairfood2x600Ann Karlen is founding director of Fair Foods. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
She and her staff have spent the past few days manning the Fair Food Stand at the Terminal where a steady stream of customers browse the selections cheese and meat, produce and grains, all baked, grown, and raised by local family farms.

Ahead of Thanksgiving, their selection of turkeys including a certified organic, a non-certified organic, pasture raised heritage breed and a broad breasted white cross.

howex600Turkeys at The Howe Farm arrive as babies, or poults in July. Some are almost 30 pounds by Thanksgiving. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
“At The Howe Farm, I love the fact that they are raising their animals on pasture,” said Karlen. “But it’s still at a reasonable price point. A lot of the other turkeys that we get are just at a higher price point and just aren’t accessible to everyone.”

The Howe Farm of Downingtown is located about 30 miles west of Philadelphia. For the past two years this small-scale, second generation family farm has donated 10 naturally raised, hormone- and antibiotic-free turkeys to be raffled off to Double Dollars participants for Thanksgiving.

The turkeys are fed a vegetarian diet, complemented by probiotics and by processing their birds just days before Thanksgiving — 1,200 a day for four days, a flock of 4,800 birds for the season — Howe ensures that they are as fresh as possible for the holiday.

howe2x600Getting the turkeys on ice after processing is instrumental in keeping the birds fresh. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Double Dollars is a program that many farms stands participate in through the SNAP program where shoppers are matched dollar for dollar up to $10 a week. And at Fair Food Stand those customers aren’t limited just to produce.

“We allow folks to buy dairy and meat and all the things that we sell here,” said Karlen.

fairfoodx600The Fair Food Farmstand at the Reading Terminal Market. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

One customer perusing the produce on Tuesday was Monique Gordon from Strawberry Mansion, in North Philadelphia. She mainly shops with Fair Food Trust she said, while picking out a few miniature sized heads of bright orange “cheddar cauliflowers” for her Thanksgiving table.

“It’s sustainable, they’re honest, it’s colorful, I love the display, and they’re informative. They know their product.”

Gordon was eager to share her recipes — cauliflower two ways.

For the table: finely shredded and served raw, mixed with persimmons and raisins, and marinated in a vinaigrette dressing.

For the dog: sautéed in coconut oil for Endo Jesus Paws, their Chihuahua, terrier, corgi mix rescue who loves cauliflower.