Guide to a Petaluma Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is typically all about family, and of course heaping piles of delicious food. Whether making dinner from scratch, ordering it pre-made or dining out, Petaluma has a cornucopia of dinner options.
Cooking at home
For those looking to cook their own Thanksgiving dinner, it is all about the bird. Sure, you can pick up a turkey from a chain grocery store, but with so many great local shops offering affordable and ethically raised birds, why settle for the unknown. Plus, patronizing our local butcher shops and grocery stores helps make great local meat choices available year round.
When I inquired on Facebook about Thanksgiving turkeys, Thistle Meats popped right to the top. As a frequent consumer of Thistle Meats myself, it comes as no surprise that they have so many fans.
They are again offering birds from BN Ranch, which was founded by Bill Niman, formerly of Niman Ranch. “You have our word,” actually means something when BN Ranch proclaims to exceed all industry animal husbandry standards. BN Ranch’s birds have far more space available for them to roam than do commercially raised birds, and even have access to the outdoors.
They are fed a non-GMO verified vegetarian diet, based on wheat, sunflower/safflower, peas and organic soy. As with all of Thistle Meats’ offerings, the animals are raised with respect and harvested ethically and humanely. Visit www.eatlikeitmatters.com for the full story on BN Ranch and its turkeys.
Little wonder that local food, drink and community business leaders like Loren Poncia of Stemple Creek Ranch, JJ Jay of Petaluma Hills Brewing Company, Ana Keller of Keller Estates, and John Ton of Petaluma Sign Company order their turkeys from Thistle Meats.
At $7.49 per pound, Thistle suggests a 12- to 14-pound turkey for a party of eight people. They are currently accepting orders but will sell out fast, so visit them online or in the store to place your $50 deposit. They will collect the rest at pick-up. Pickups begin during regular business hours, starting Sunday, Nov. 20.
Mention that you read about it here, and owner Molly Best will include a complimentary charcuterie board with each bird on orders place by Nov. 10. If you have never tried Thistle Meats, this is as good a reason as any.
I also highly recommend picking up a few links of their Beer Brat sausages, which are expertly made and perfectly balanced using beer from Petaluma Hills Brewing Company. I would bet they would make for a pretty mean sausage stuffing too.
Tara Firma Farms also offers BN Ranch turkeys to the general public, with discounts for members.
For those who prefer ham to turkey, Angelo’s Meats offers the perfect compromise, and has our family’s choice on more than one occasion. Angelo Ibleto’s smoked turkeys are moist and sweet, much like a Christmas ham, and have been a Petaluma favorite for decades. These turkeys are ready to go so you can serve them either cold or hot, and are priced at $4.99 per pound. Former city council member Karen Nau tells me that her mother, Ettamarie Peterson, gets a turkey from Angelo’s every year and that the whole family loves it.
Bud’s Custom Meats in Penngrove is also a long-standing local favorite when it comes to birds, as well as other Thanksgiving favorites, like turduckens, prime rib (both grass and grain fed), and bone-in and bone-out smoked hams. Thanks to Lauren from Bud’s for running me through the choices, which include hormone- and antibiotic-free, local free range Willy Birds and Rosa birds for $3.69 per pound, as well as a lemon garlic brined smoked bird for $4.19 per pound. Lorraine and Mike Barber of Barber Cellars tell me that for the past decade, they have never gone wrong ordering a Rosa bird from Bud’s.
While there, pick up a few packs of Bud’s incredible beef jerky. Bud’s has been making venison, wild boar, buffalo, pork and grass-fed beef jerky since 1975. Other than the Cowboy Candy, the rest of the jerkies are only available at Bud’s and make an excellent holiday gift for the foodies on your list.
Thanksgiving dinner would not be complete without pie, and locally nobody does it better than Petaluma Pie. Because Petaluma Pie has quickly become a Petaluma tradition, it is important to order early. Along with traditional pies, such as their classic apple, organic pecan, sweet potato and southern style pumpkin pies, Petaluma Pie offers specialties like pear ginger cardamon, apple pecan crumble with salted caramel and dark chocolate bourbon pecan pies.
Personally, Thanksgiving dessert is not complete without a scoop or two of Petaluma Creamery or LaLa’s ice cream, along with a dollop of homemade hazelnut whipped cream, created by adding Sonoma Portworks’ Duet Sherry to heavy whipping cream, but maybe that is just my sweet tooth talking.