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Thanksgiving shopping: Harlem's Big Two and a few others too

This is the first year that Harlem not only has a Fairway, but a Whole Foods too, which is really saying something. (A happy abundance of quality food? Gentrification? Both?)

So if you've been waiting for a wider choice of groceries that are locally sourced or organic or just made with care, you're in luck. (Trader Joe's, if you can hear me, we here uptown are still waiting.)

Both stores are rolling out the red carpet for Thanksgiving shoppers, giving them tons of options both in-store and online. Keep in mind that you'll have to pick up any Thanksgiving orders (turkeys, catering, etc) yourself.

Beets and radishes at Whole Foods in Harlem

The Harlem Whole Foods, the real giant here, has a special Holiday Ordering Table right past the checkout counters with a turkey buying guide that explains the difference between, say, a heritage turkey and one that's "5-step animal welfare rated." Online I counted 17 different types of birds, from raw heirloom to pre-cooked organic. The last day to order either in-store or online is next Tuesday, November 21.

Olive Oil at the Fairway in Harlem

The Fairway in Harlem also has a temporary table towards the front of the store where you can fill out a form with no less than 13 types of turkeys, from antibiotic-free to fresh-brined to fully cooked organic. The last day for in-store and online bird ordering is this Thursday, November 16, so get a move on.

Both Whole Foods and Fairway also offer entire Thanksgiving meals or individual prepared foods from their catering menus. Whole Foods sells both classic and modern sides like vegan "cheesy" rutabaga-potato mash. All orders require 48-hour notice. Fairway sticks to mostly traditional offerings, including dishes like mushroom herb stuffing and candied sweet potatoes, plus all types of pies–the last day for orders is Saturday, November 18.

Whole Foods in Harlem entrance

Of course, you can do things the old-fashioned way and just go shopping for groceries right before the holiday. Whole Foods charges $4.95 for delivery if you make your purchases in-store. Online it varies, depending on your address (for my zip code, 10031, it's $7.95 for orders over $35). The Harlem Fairway also charges $7.95 and delivers between 59th Street and 218th Street in Manhattan.

And if you want to support the little guys (and you should), here are some smaller places in Upper Manhattan to get farm-fresh food:

Harlem Shambles

This boutique butcher on Frederick Douglass Boulevard is all out of heritage breed turkeys, but stop by this week and you can still order a traditional turkey.

Greenmarkets in Upper Manhattan

Most greenmarkets are open for at least one more week (only the twice-a-week market near Columbia University and the one in Inwood are open year-round). Produce such as beets, cabbage, carrots, collard greens, apples and pears are still in season, so check the website for the market nearest you.

Corbin Hill Food Project

The time to order your bird or produce from this food share has passed, but you still have until tomorrow, November 14, to request a locally-baked apple or sweet potato pie. There's also still time to buy items like cider, eggs, raw honey and Ithaca Milk yogurt.

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