Let the traditions begin!

One of my more favorite ones is getting up right before the butt-crack of dawn and heading down to the Lancaster County Farmers Market a few blocks from home to pick up my pre-ordered 30+ pound Thanksgiving Turkey. That’s right… 30+ pounds!

The farmer’s market at 6:15am was a typical mob-scene. It may be the only time I actually don’t mind the chaos and confusion of shopping. There’s just something about the throngs of people – mostly in good humor – all shopping for food that makes me smile.

The system at Rittenhouse Poultry, where I’ve bought our turkey since moving here, is organized confusion. A score of people are in front of the counter, with even more folks behind it. There’s no real “line.” Someone shouts out for tickets, a throng presses forward and hands tickets over. Turkeys are found, names are called. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. It takes less than 5 minutes to get your bird. These folks are good.

One woman behind me asked if I was in line. I explained the system to her and she started bitching and moaning, calling it “unacceptable.” An older woman in front of me turned to her and said “These people are working their asses off. This is our tradition and we like it. if you don’t, go to Acme and get a frozen bird.”

The first woman’s jaw dropped. Several folks heartily agreed with her, laughing and generally making a good time out of the chaos. Everyone was complimenting the folks behind the counter. Honest, heartfelt “Thank you’s” and “Happy Thanksgiving” was heard everywhere. The complaining woman quickly understood she was outnumbered and shut up.

And then there was the woman who said she didn’t have a ticket, but she had ordered her turkey last week. The woman behind the counter said they don’t take orders without giving a ticket. (They don’t.) The woman insisted she had ordered a turkey, but was not given a ticket. This was going nowhere, so the counter woman then said. “Okay. We lost your order, what size turkey do you want?” She was much nicer than I would have been.

I got and paid for my 31.5 pounder and took it out to the car. No way could I carry that thing and still shop!

Back in, I headed to the bakery section. 2 Italian baguettes, a half dozen bagels, and a couple of kaiser rolls were all I needed. (I’ll be making pumpkin rolls tomorrow.)

Then off to the produce section for some leeks and the multi-colored mixed cauliflower and broccoli. It shall make a lovely gratin. I bought some cold cuts (we have to eat today, too!) and walked around a bit to see if anything else struck my fancy. With all the food we’re already planning, I figured I had enough.

Other than a couple of typical Main Line “I’m more important than you” folks, the people were upbeat and in good moods. You really could tell the regulars from the once-a-year shoppers, though. The regulars were relaxed and having fun. The once-a-year folks were harried and confused.

I ran into several folks I know from work, and we chatted and shared what we’re cooking, and for how many.

And I was home by 7:00am.