Local businesses throughout Connecticut are preparing for the Thanksgiving rush with their native produce and unique products, many of which are tailored specifically for the holiday season.
“I just realized Thanksgiving was next week myself,” said Jim Lattizori of the , noting how the recent October snowstorm had seemingly interrupted the region’s usual shopping patterns. Lattizori said that business has been steadily picking up since the storm, however, and that he was looking forward to what was the Cider Mill’s busiest week of the year.
The season’s typical best seller is the Cider Mill’s private label cider, which comes in half-gallon and gallon jugs. The establishment’s apples all come from the Hudson River Valley, while the shelves are stocked with innumerable varieties of jams, jellies, preserves, hot sauces, and barbeque and wing sauces, all carrying the Avon Cider Mill label. Also for sale are pies produced by Grandma’s Pies of West Hartford, according to Lattizori.
Miller Foods, also of Avon, held the grand opening for its annual in front of its storefront on Arch Road Saturday, where it is selling an eclectic mix of local produce and products. The tent will be open through Wednesday. Highlights include ears of popcorn from Riverdale Farm, ice cream from , pies of Granny’s Pie Factory of East Hartford, and locally made candy and pumpkin bread, according to company project manager Capri Frank. Also available are conveniences such as frozen, pre-whipped mashed potatoes, while Miller’s pet food line Oma’s Pride offers specialized holiday dinners for pets.
“Any way that we can support local Connecticut business … It’s really local to Connecticut. We really try to stick as close to that as we can, whether it be nuts or cider or anything that we sell,” she said.
Miller Foods is particularly famous for its “Turkease,” semi-boneless turkeys the company sells by the hundreds during the holiday season. Miller Foods co-owner Carolyn Miller-Stevens said that a few thousand Turkease are sold per year and are shipped as far as Washington, D.C. Frank said that an additional 2,000 people pass through the tent to buy the company’s standard Miller Fresh Turkeys in the five days preceding Thanksgiving. One is a customer from Avon who has patronized Miller Foods for the past fifty years.
Southington is home to Rogers Orchards, a 200-year-old business with two salesrooms in town. Both locations offer native produce, in addition to house label salad dressing, cider, pasta, cake mixes, jellies, relish, and preserves. Also available is honey from local supplier Swords into Plowshares, which lends bees to Rogers Orchards to help pollinate its trees.
The main draw during Thanksgiving season is the farm’s fresh baked pies, however. According to Maddie Strasser, a salesperson at the Rogers Orchards Home Salesroom location, the store sells close to 1,000 pies every Thanksgiving season. She also recommended the salesroom’s apple cider donuts and cider itself, both of which are perennial favorites.
Canton’s Wild Carrot Farm on Route 44 will also be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday as part of its pre-Thanksgiving sale, according to its website. The storefront offers organic carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, leeks, scallions, and shallots, among other produce. It will also be selling its own organic tomato sauce, in addition to produce and products from other local farms such as Lawler Farm, Clark Farms, and Jones’ Apiary.
After a slight delay caused by the recent power outages, the Lost Acres Orchard in North Granby finally released its famous Thanksgiving menu, which features an assortment of pies (apple, cranberry apple crumb, pumpkin, bourbon pecan, peach with lattice top, blueberry crumb, chocolate walnut apple crisp), breads, rolls, ciders, soups and sweets like cinnamon buns and pumpkin whoopie pies.
To place an order, call the orchard at 860-653-6600 during business hours, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline to order, according to the orchard’s website, is Monday, November 21; orders can be picked up on Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 23), or on Thanksgiving morning (Nov. 24).