Smile Politely

Your guide for a (mostly) locally sourced Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is already upon us. That means that you can officially embark upon the socially acceptable practice of stuffing carbs and sugar and alcohol into your face and apathetically dismissing those extra few pounds your mother/father/grandmother/aunt/sister/lover point out when they passive-aggressively ask if you’ve “done something different” with your appearance.

The way I see things, if I’m going to shove something into my mouth repeatedly, it better taste good. And surely it would taste that much better if I were supporting my local community. And lucky for residents of C-U, we have plenty of local shops making delicious food and drink products perfect for the holiday table. There’s nothing quite like picking up already prepared food and then tossing out the disposable containers (or reusing them). What I’m saying is it’s nice to do minimal work, especially if you’re hosting a house full of people.

Below you’ll find a collection of local vendors whose products are delicious and are accepting orders for the holiday. I’ve listed places that sell locally sourced foods as best as possible, but some might just be locally owned and operated vendors. Please note that most places are NOT open on Thanksgiving, so your order will have to be picked up Tuesday or Wednesday. While you’re out and about collecting your Thanksgiving meal components, please take a moment and a few dollars and donate to organizations who help those who don’t have as much as you and me. (The Eastern Illinois Food Bank, Salt & Light Ministries, or the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen, are just a few.)

General Shopping

Your best bet for sourcing local ingredients (not pre-made foods items, which I outline below) is this Saturday’s Holiday Market at Lincoln Square Mall (8 a.m. to 1 p.m.). You’ll have your pick of produce including squash, leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, beets, apples, and onions. I’m a huge fan of roasted squash and roasted Brussels, and these locally grown babies are sure to taste good and look good as table centerpieces. You can also grab some wine from Sleepy Creek Vineyards, and maybe even some meat from Triple S Farms. Check out Rick’s Bakery for breads and other baked goods.

You can find a bunch of locally sourced items at Strawberry Fields and Common Ground Food Co-op. But if you’re really in a bind, you must stop by Common Ground on Wednesday, November 26 to peruse the salad bar, which will be transformed into a Thanksgiving food smorgasbord. This is an especially important opportunity if you’re feeding any vegans, vegetarians, or folks with gluten allergies. Here’s the menu:

Appetizers and other nom-noms

You should totally order a cheese plate from Prairie Fruits Farm (three varieties; $54.95 and $98.95), or make one yourself. That cheese is unbelievable.

PFF is also offering:

Baked Little Bloom on the Prairie En Croute with your choice of filling: Pumpkin tomato chutney or Brown butter maple pecan conserve. Serves 4 to 6 A full wheel of Little Bloom filled with chutney or conserve and wrapped in flaky puff pastry dough. $17.99 

Chevre Dips: creamy dip made with Prairie Fruits Farm fresh chevre, Kilgus Farmstead cream and local vegetables or bacon (spinach, roasted garlic and onion, or bacon and jalapeño). 8 oz. each. $9.99

All Prairie Fruits Farm orders must be in by Saturday, November 22

Candied nuts are available at the Holiday Market.

The New Sweet Indulgence has one-pound wheels of brie with a homemade pastry crust (with cranberries and walnuts, $26; without, $23). Call 217-352-2433. Order must be placed by Monday, November 24.


If you’re hosting dinner for more than four people and haven’t sourced your turkey yet, you’re in trouble, my friend. It looks like you’ll be picking up your bird from the local Schnuck’s. Or you can swing by Common Ground Food Co-op and pick up a local chicken. It’s almost the same thing, right? Regardless of where your bird comes from, you should brine and cook it it like this. It’s for sure worth it.

Meat-free proteins
You can find Quorn brand vegetarian turk’y roast for $6.99 at Strawberry Fields.

You can also pick up some tofu, tempeh, or seitan to cook as you like at Strawberry Fields or Common Ground. Or, stop by Common Ground on Wednesday the 26th to pick up Savory Seitan Stuffed with Cranberries and Leeks (vegan). Quinoa is a complete protein, too, and is available in bulk at both places.

You can order fresh fish from Cheese & Crackers. Oysters have been available recently, so there’s a possibility of getting some of those little gems, too. For more information and ordering deadlines, call 217-615-8531.

Art Mart also takes orders for fresh fish. The deadline for a Thanksgiving order is noon Monday, November 24 (for pick up on Tuesday, November 25). Here’s what you can order:

Goosepoint Shucked Oysters $45 per half gallon (by the pint or quart)
Skin on cod $16.49/lb
Arctic char from iceland $14.99/lb
Scottish loch du art salmon $16.95/lb
Swordfish $19.99/lb
Mahi mahi $14.99/lb
Mussels $7.99/2lb bag
Scallops $19.95/lb (8-10/lb)
Laughing bird shrimp $14.99/lb peeled & deveined
Irish organic salmon $18.95/lb
Handcut sushi grade tuna $27.95/lb
Large (16-20 p&d) shrimp $19.99/lb

Wild Game
Order your rabbits, pheasants, grouse, and partridges from Art Mart by emailing them:

Starches and Sauce

I’d argue that sides are the only reason to eat Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving dinner side dishes vary by family, and I’ve selected some of the more mainstream examples and where you can get them already made, ready for a little reheating and serving.

Pekara’s got it going on for buns, rolls, loaves, croissants, and quick breads. Check out the order form, and be sure to get it in by Order by Sunday, November 23 (217-359-4500).

The New Sweet Indulgence has dinner rolls and bread available. Order by Monday, November 24 (217-352-2433).

Contact Prairie Fruits Farm to order these:

Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage and Fennel: Locally produced Piemonte artisan pork sausage, fennel and house made buttermilk cornbread come together with local onions and garlic. Small serves 4-6 $14.99 Large serves 12-15 $29.99 

Butternut Squash, Leek and Kale Stuffing: Pekara Bakery bread, roasted Heirloominous Farm squash and kale tossed with sautéed leeks, herbs and vegetable stock. Small serves 4-6 $11.99 Large serves 12-15 $24.99

All Prairie Fruits Farm orders must be in by Saturday, November 22.

Mac and cheese
Seaboat makes a pretty tasty mac and cheese; jumbo mac and cheese sides are $6.99, but you might be able to order a larger size. Order by the end of this week by calling 217-355-9933.

Cranberry Sauce
You should go ahead and make this side on your own; it’s super easy and can be done in advance. Check out my recipe for spicing it up with Autumnberry Inspired Blazing Jam. You can pick up your jar of jam at the Holiday Market or at Common Ground Food Co-op. And don’t forget the bag of cranberries.

If you’re not into making it, you can order some from Prairie Fruits Farm cranberry relish, serves 4. 16 oz. $7.99 Order by Saturday, November 22


Seaboat’s collard greens are some of the best I’ve had (jumbo size is $6.99). You can also order a side of corn, green beans, or fried okra. Order by Saturday, November 22 by calling 217-355-9933.

Prairie Fruits Farm is offering up some roasted and glazed carrots with ginger and parsley. Small serves 4-6. $9.99 Large serves 12-15. $21.99 Order by Saturday, November 22.

You can also order some whipped sweet potatoes topped with house-made marshmallows. Small serves 4-6. $14.99  Large serves 12-15 $29.99 Order by Saturday, November 22.

Black Dog has some amazingly delicious sides. If you’re thinking about ordering a side, go ahead and do so right now. Their catering orders fill up quickly, so there’s a good chance they won’t be able to accommodate you if you wait. You can give the restaurant a call (217-344-9334), but since it is incessantly busy in there, you might as well stop by to place a bulk order and a dinner order.


The possibilities here are endless!

Dancing Dog Eatery & Juicery is offering all organic and vegan pumpkin, apple, or cran-apple pies ($25). Call 217-552-1344 by Saturday, November 22 to place your order.

Prairie Fruits Farm
Apple Oat Struesel Pie $19.99
Illinois Honey Pecan Pie $21.99
Cinnamon Custard Pie $18.99

Order by Saturday, November 22.

The Cake Artist Studio
Order by Saturday, November 22 (217-403-0900). Check out those little turkey cupcakes! (Photo at beginning of article.)

The New Sweet Indulgence
Order by Monday, November 24 (217-352-2433).

Pekara has nine-inch pumpkin ($13), apple ($13), and Jack Daniel’s pecan ($19) pies, pumpkin roulade ($28) and a six-inch carrot cake ($28), as well as pecan, cinnamon, or blueberry coffee cakes (loaf, $8.5; round, $12). Order by Sunday, November 23


Curtis Orchard has really lovely apple cider, which can easily be made boozy. Get it from the orchard or find it at almost every local grocery store.

Sleepy Creek Vineyards makes a variety of wines right down the street in Oakwood. Pick up a bottle or ten at the vineyard, the Holiday Market, or Common Ground Food Co-op.

Triptych has launched a new frequent filler program, and you might as well get started. Here’s what on tap right now (and how much is left). 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pricing, menu descriptions, and order-by dates are correct to the best of our knowledge, but subject to change. Photos are courtesy of the author, except for the Sleepy Creek Wine photo, which is by Chelsea Fisher.

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