Just in time for Thanksgiving, we caught up with Mike Geller, owner of Mike’s Organic. We asked him the tough questions—like how to avoid looking like a turkey while carving one—and his suggestions for what to serve at a downsized, COVID-friendly meal.
To place an order for turkey or sides, order by Friday, November 20!
What’s new for the holidays at Mike’s Organic?
First of all, people should place their order by Friday, November 20 for delivery the week of the holiday…Turkeys and sides are going fast!
A new special menu highlight this year is sauteed green beans. Our Organic Green beans are lightly blanched, then tossed with olive oil and garlic, and they are simply delicious.
All of the food on the Thanksgiving menu is prepared locally by yours truly and our team (who are all from Greenwich!). The centerpiece of the menu is the pasture-raised turkey. These Broad-Breasted White Turkeys from Autumn’s Harvest Farm (Romulus, NY) feature lots of clean, juicy white meat and an incredible, mild, flavor. Pastured turkeys live their lives out on the grass as happy healthy birds and we are one of the few places locally to offer them.
Other menu highlights include:
- Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes
- Whipped Sweet Potatoes
- Turkey Gravy
- Cranberry Sauce
- Sauteed Green Beans
- Apple & Pumpkin Pies from Oronoque Farms (Shelton, CT)
Plus this year I am sharing a series of Thanksgiving how-to videos on social media to help you make the most of the holiday, everything from how to pick a turkey to how to carve it! Follow along on Instagram @mikesorganic.
Last, but certainly not least, we’ve partnered with Greenwich’s Kids in Crisis (a charity we’ve supported for years) to give back and help feed families in need this holiday. Through Mike’s Organicares, the charitable arm of Mike’s Organic, customers can get involved and make a donation of any amount towards Thanksgiving/Fresh Produce to be donated to Kids in Crisis.
You were featured in the New York Times on how you’ve adapted during the pandemic…What would you say to yourself a year ago?
2020 has been a strange year for everyone…At Mike’s it meant that overnight we went from just running a small business to becoming a vital lifeline for our customers and farmers. We were so appreciative to be noticed for our efforts in the community.
The biggest and best advice I would give my past self is…Take it one step at a time. We spend so much time trying to control things around us that we have no control over.
What are the main ways your business has pivoted throughout the pandemic?
Events were a big part of our business last year. You know the ones: Concerts, Oktoberfest, cooking classes, sheep shearings. Overnight, we had to shift our focus back to home deliveries. Supporting small farms and purveyors is still at the forefront of what we do and we also expanded our offerings to that of a true grocery store, bringing on over 300+ new products and a variety of prepared foods. From paper towels to parchment paper, we are a one-stop shop for all your grocery needs. I’m truly proud of the way our small team has worked together to pivot and grow.
What are you serving for Thanksgiving this year and how are you celebrating it?
I am celebrating the holiday with my family feasting on….wait for it…all the Mike’s Organic dishes we are offering for Thanksgiving!
Ha, of course! And if someone doesn’t want to cook a 10 pound turkey this year, what are some good alternatives?
A whole roast chicken is one alternative if you’re not feeling turkey this year, or if you don’t eat meat a stuffed squash can be a good way to switch it up. And hey maybe this is the time to start a new tradition – make pizza if you love pizza! Turkey doesn’t define Thanksgiving – you do. Make it what you want!
If someone’s having a more intimate holiday and has lots of leftover turkey—what do you suggest doing with it?
I love to make a classic leftover turkey sandwich, with some leftover cranberry sauce on fresh bread. I also like to take the leftover dark meat and saute it with veggies to make a hash. The leftovers can be one of the best parts of the holiday!
Your video series about prepping and carving turkey is so great. What are your best tips for prepping a turkey? And best tips for carving one?
Key prepping tips:
- After removing the giblets from the cavity, pat the turkey completely dry – this is important!
- Leave your turkey in the fridge uncovered overnight. This is going to take the moisture away from the skin to get you that nice, crispy skin we all love
Key carving tips:
- Pull the leg and thigh away from the body and find the joint that connects the bottom of the thigh to the body, sever the joint and remove the connected thigh and leg.
- Find the joint between the leg and thigh and cut.
- Hold the leg with the thick end down (like you’re holding the ankle), so it is perpendicular to the cutting board and cut straight down, paralleling the bone, to remove a large chunk of meat. Rotate the leg 90 degrees and repeat until the bone is cleaned.
- Put the pieces of meat that you have removed from the leg bone skin side up, and cut crossways at an angle, so you have nice even pieces of dark meat.
- Repeat for other side and arrange on the board
- Lay the thigh skin side down on the cutting board and steady it with your carving fork. Cut along both sides and under the bone to loosen it
- Hold the knife parallel to the board and slide it under the bone and cut along the bottom edge, pulling the bone as you cut, to remove.
- Flip the thigh so it is skin side up and cut crossways at an angle into thick slices.
- Repeat for other side and arrange on the board
- Pull the wing away from the body. Find the joint that connects the wing to the chest and sever.
- Arrange wing on the platter.
- Repeat for other side.
- You will now have just the breast and rib cage of the turkey sitting before you.
- Steady the side of the breast that you are NOT carving with your carving fork.
- Make a thin slice along the breast bone of the turkey in the center of the breast, starting by the top of the breast and working your way straight down to the base of the cavity.
- Pull the side of the breast you have cut away from the carcass and using the tip of your knife, guide your knife along the breast bone and let it ride the rib cage right down to where you removed the wing from the body.
- Cut along that part of the breast until it is clear from the body, so you have removed one entire half of the breast from the turkey.
- Lay that half of the breast on the cutting board, skin side up, and slice at an angle crossways (across the breast, not with it) and arrange on cutting board.
- Repeat for other side of breast.
What are you most thankful for this year?
I am most thankful for my family, my wife Asya and my two boys, Nathan and Charlie, my health, my team here at Mike’s Organic, and all of our incredible farm partners and supportive clients. We have so much to be grateful for and it’s wonderful to recognize this on Thanksgiving, and also good to try to remember to extend that attitude of gratitude mindset to all the other days of the year.
THANKSGIVING SPEED ROUND:
Homemade cranberry sauce or canned? Homemade, all the way! Especially OUR homemade version 🙂
White or dark meat? Dark meat
White or red wine? Red if I’m drinking wine (but bourbon is my true drink of choice!)
Lunch or dinner mealtime? Dinner
Kids table or all together? All together
Pumpkin or pecan pie? Pecan