Nov. 18--It's time to pull the Thanksgiving turkey out of the freezer or head to the store as the countdown to the food-focused holiday begins.
"Thanksgiving is the ultimate centerpiece meal," said Dennis Curtin, a spokesman for Weis Markets, which has stores in Frederick, Thurmont, Mount Airy and now Brunswick.
With the feast, however, comes shortened store hours, longer cooking times and ingredients that may deviate from the normal shopping list. This makes planning a trip to the supermarket -- either this weekend or in the days leading up to turkey day -- all the more important.
On Thanksgiving, Weis Markets' normal closing hours will be trimmed from 11:59 p.m. to 7 p.m. at all three locations, which will still be one of the latest shopping time available in Frederick County that day.
Safeway on East Main Street in Middletown will also close at 7 p.m. instead of its usual 1 a.m. Wegmans on Wormans Mill Road will close at 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving.
Common Market on Buckeystown Pike will be closed all day on Thursday and close an hour early on Wednesday, said store manager Jared Pringle.
The busiest shopping day at Common Market is expected to be Wednesday as customers come in to pick up either a fresh or frozen turkey. To help ease the volume of customers, the co-op offers turkey orders through its website on five types of turkeys or a $99.99 turkey dinner kit with turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce and dinner rolls.
The other supermarkets also expected foot traffic to pick up over the weekend and continue through the holiday. Weis Markets' goal is to keep lines moving despite the volume of shoppers. Additional employees are scheduled to work the registers and meat departments at Weis stores, Curtin said.
Weis Markets sells nine varieties of fresh and frozen turkeys, which on average are down 10 cents a pound this year, Curtin said. Starting Saturday, the chain will start deliveries of fresh turkeys to stores.
Anyone who isn't buying a fresh turkey should refer to foodsafety.gov for recommended thawing times. The government recommends thawing a 16- to 20-pound turkey in the refrigerator for four to five days, which means the main dish may need to start defrosting this weekend.
For people who are already overwhelmed between the thought of shopping and thawing -- local stores have you covered as well.
Weis Markets offers prepared dinners with sides, dessert, stuffing and a pre-cooked turkey that just needs to be heated up in the oven. At approximately $7.50 per person, the convenience of ordering the dinner is hard to beat, Curtin said.
Safeway also offers prepared holiday meals -- of turkey, ham or prime rib -- for the less culinary-inclined or if the bird goes south in the oven on the big day.
"While we encourage customers to place advance orders for prepared holiday dinners, our stores are prepared to fill orders throughout the holidays," said Beth Goldberg, a spokeswoman for Safeway.
Safeway also offers a range of catering trays, baked goods, produce and floral arrangements, she said. Common Market also has a range of meat and cheese, seafood, vegetable and fruit trays.
For people ready to cook their way through the holidays, though, Safeway sends nearly 1,000 turkeys to each store to meet the holiday demand. The Middletown Safeway still had plenty of frozen birds on Friday.
"It's a day for family," Curtin said. "It's a day for eating well."
Follow Samantha Hogan on Twitter: @SAHogan.
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