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Big day for families and businesses

Calhoun Foods meat department employees Kim Williams and Barry Watts stock frozen turkeys Tuesday for shoppers in prepartion of Thanksgiving Day. More than 1,000 turkeys were sold in the last two weeks, according to store management. -- Desiree Taylor

Thanksgiving is less than 24 hours away and local grocers have been preparing for the season months in advance.

Whether stocking turkeys or canned items such as soups and sauces, for many stores, Thanksgiving Day is their biggest draw.

Dave’s Market assistant manager Linda McDonald said the store begins stocking two to three weeks before the major holiday.

“We make sure we have all of our trimmings like your cranberry sauces, cream of chicken (and) cream of celery for dressings,” McDonald said. “We make sure we have turkeys in.”

As for turkey size, McDonald recommends a 12 to 14 pound bird. And for those who have trouble making the dish moist, McDonald offers an alternative to the traditional baking.

“I prefer a precook turkey … and deep-fried turkey … over the ones you need to cook,” McDonald said. “They’re good and moist and 100 percent cooked.”

McDonald also said “turkey injectors” are also popular to add moisture.

“Turkey injection helps,” McDonald said.

“There is buttery, Cajun, Creole, herbs and butter …”

Larry Crane, store director for Winn-Dixie on Dallas Avenue, said turkeys and hams, gallon containers of oils, casserole and glass baking dishes and pans are big-ticket items this time of year.

“Turkey is in short supply — people are eating more health conscious, creating a demand for more turkey,” Crane said.

“(The) size and selection of turkey is more limited. We struggle to keep turkey. While selections are good, go ahead and get turkey … for your family.”

Crane, who said the store starts stocking and putting out displays in October, said planning ahead of time is key.

“It’s all about planning and merchandising,” Crane said. “You have customers that start shopping early. If you don’t do shopping early, you may miss out on a sale.”

Crane recommends a family trick, a recipe from his mother, to keeping a turkey moist.

“She always bought Winn-Dixie turkey,” Crane said. “She always turned the turkey upside down in the pan (while it cooked) so the juices could keep the breast moist. She then would turn it over to keep it browned. You could take aluminum  foil — make a tent around the breast and keep it browner and moist.”

Calhoun Foods assistant manager Michael Morgan said in the past two weeks the store has sold roughly 1,000 whole turkeys — with Butterball and Best Choice as the top sellers.

“We’re selling a lot of turkeys and traditional things,” Morgan said. “We sell to a local food bank and churches … we had a whole truckload come in today. We have all the fixings and trimmings for stuffing — cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes.”

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