An Elegant & Elevated Thanksgiving ... Simplified

Photos by Jen Fariello taken at the KellyBronze turkey farm in Crozet, VA

With Thanksgiving just five weeks away, it is time to start preparing for the most memorable meal of the year. But just because you want it to be the most delicious and special gathering for all of your family and friends, does not mean that you have to exhaust yourself in the process. Here is our guide to creating the perfect Thanksgiving celebration in Charlottesville, while still giving yourself time to actually enjoy the day and the people that you are most thankful for.

Choosing the perfect Turkey.

Paul Kelly, second generation turkey farmer serving up the perfectly prepared KellyBronze turkey.

KellyBronze turkeys are Bred to be Wild and are handled with the highest level of care “from egg to oven” resulting in the best turkey possible.⁠ Pure bred by three generations of the Kelly family in the UK, KellyBronze turkeys are over twice the age of a standard turkey – doubling the farming costs but quadrupling the flavor. Maturity has the biggest single impact on flavor. There is no other turkey grown and processed using the traditional artisan methods employed by KellyBronze anywhere in the United States. And the fact that KellyBronze USA turkeys are produced right here in Crozet, Virginia is quite special for all of us living in the Charlottesville area. To learn more about what makes KellyBronze turkeys so special read more here.

“Today, we still follow the age-old tradition of plucking the turkeys by hand and dry hanging them to allow the flavor to intensify and the meat to tenderize. The attention to detail and care at every step is there in every bite,” says Paul Kelly, KellyBronze owner and second generation turkey farmer.

The dry plucking and dry aging, along with the development of intramuscular fat from a bird allowed to reach full maturity, allows a much shorter cooking time and core temperatures well below that of conventional water-processed turkeys. The fat on the mature bird also results in particularly rich, succulent meat.

Having prepared a KellyBronze turkey for our own Thanksgiving table last year, we can attest that a KellyBronze is so much simpler and faster to prepare than other turkeys. Every KellyBronze turkey comes with its own thermometer and you are going to use this as your guide to know when it is ready. Follow these simple cooking instructions and remove the meat from the oven as soon as the needle hits 140°F and let it stand for at least 30 mins before carving. Voila! You will have the most perfectly tender and flavorful turkey that everyone will be raving about.

Again this year, local turkey farmer, Judd Culver and his team are raising small flocks of turkeys at the Crozet farm, selling them both locally in Virginia & shipping throughout the United States.⁠ If you are local to Charlottesville, order your KellyBronze Thanksgiving turkey today and you will be invited out to the farm for a pickup party on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. You can learn more about the beautiful history of the KellyBronze bird, meet the team, and take in the beautiful vistas from where the turkeys free-range. This is an experience that your family will cherish, much like going to cut down your Christmas tree at a tree farm each year. Most importantly, the taste and ease of cooking of a KellyBronze turkey is unrivaled. It is a worthwhile investment in superior quality for a truly special holiday meal and you are supporting local!

Paul Kelly ready to carve the turkey using a carving set from The Happy Cook. Fun facts: Paul holds the Guinness World Record for fastest turkey carver & carved a turkey on Good Morning America last year using a carving set from The Happy Cook.

The perfect side dishes for your Thanksgiving Feast.

Of course you will want delicious sides to accompany your KellyBronze turkey, but you don’t have to do it all! Feast! is your one-stop shop for effortless and elegant dinner offerings and thoughtful hostess gifts. Feast can prepare everything from appetizers, such as Thanksgiving baked brie, deviled eggs and stuffed pimento peppers, to soups and salads. You can order the “Everything but the Turkey” package to have them take care of it all or you can order side dishes a la carte. Feast is here to help alleviate some of your hostess duties so that you can focus on your guests and what really matters. Thanksgiving pre-orders are open now. Place your order before November 13th, for pick-up on November 21st and 22nd.

Delicious desserts to complete your meal.

We sure hope you saved room for dessert, because MarieBette is going to be serving up some delicious Thanksgiving sweet treats to wrap up your meal. Pre-orders will be opening soon and we are thinking you might need to order one of everything because it is all so delicious! Be sure to place your orders for MarieBette dinner rolls as well as they are the perfect compliment to your Thanksgiving meal.

Toast to all that you are thankful for with some delicious local wines.

Merrie Mill Farm & Vineyard released two very special reserve wines this year that would make a perfect accompaniment to your Thanksgiving meal; the 2021 Calaboose Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve and the 2021 Rock Tree Chardonnay Reserve . In a rocky plot at the peak of Merrie Mill Farm, vines of Chardonnay bear fruit whose hardy character reflects their rugged roots. After some time in the barrel, it becomes ‘Rock Tree’ a robust white that is ready to enjoy now, with great aging potential for up to 5 years.

King Family Vineyards has 46 acres of vines that are located just down the road from the KellyBronze turkey farm in Crozet. The distinctive dyke-loam soils found here, combined with a favorable aspect, help them grow exceptional fruit for distinctive wines. Their Cabernet Franc, Viognier or Crosé would all be wonderful additions to your Thanksgiving table.

Setting the perfect table.

Make your Thanksgiving table setting the best it can be, by visiting Be Just. Be Just brings together a thoughtfully curated collection of everyday objects for the home centered on utility, form and beauty. Shawn Cossette, owner and creative visionary behind Be Just and Beehive Events, helped us pull together the perfect simple and elegant tablescape for our Thanksgiving feast. Her tips for styling your Thanksgiving Table are:

Start with a neutral palette that will let the food & flowers shine.

Shawn selected a flax colored linen tablecloth (available in store) as the blank canvas for our Thanksgiving tabletop. Rounded, organically shaped stone dinnerware and serveware that is made unique by its matte finish, is simple yet elegant and interesting. The linen selvedge napkins with a simple pumpkin stripe add just a bit of color.

Bring in earth tones that are perfect for fall.

We loved the terra cotta touches that Shawn incorporated into the tablescape through the use of vases, which can be found in-store, and candle holders, as well as the terra cotta colored rope taper candles. The mango wood plates used as chargers and mango wood petal bowl used as a bread basket added a perfect earthy touch for our outdoor feast.

Incorporate various textures to provide a cozy feeling.

Cossette brought in Icelandic Sheepskins, wool blankets and wool seat cushions to add texture and interest. These additions are also perfect for providing warmth and a cozy feeling as the sun sets.

Add a few unexpected details to elevate the tablescape.

Cossette used these versatile rounded bottles as casual water jugs & simple containers for special stems as part of the tablescape. This new pebbled glassware made from partially recycled glass, with its gently hammered texture and faint greenish color, is unique and special and unlike typical stemware. The boxwood handled cutlery, available in store, adds a rustic touch.

Shawn has a true talent for creating spaces and vignettes that combine what’s new with what’s familiar, presenting everyday elements in exceptional ways. Visit Be Just and she and her wonderful team would be happy to help you select items for a stunning Thanksgiving tablescape that is all your own.

Let Hedge Fine Blooms provide the perfect centerpiece.

Karen Walker, owner of Hedge Fine Blooms prepared the perfect centerpieces for our Thanksgiving table. Let Karen and her team help bring the same warmth to your Thanksgiving Day tablescape with a fresh, inviting arrangement of roses, berries, and snapdragons in a clear glass vase. These blooms are the ideal finishing touch for a meal that is meant to be shared with those you love and cherish most. Pre-order your Give Thanks arrangements today.

Expecting a crowd for Thanksgiving?

Festive Rentals provided the tables and chairs for our Thanksgiving feast and they can do the same if you are hosting a large gathering this year. They can of course also assist you with linens, china, glassware, flatware and more, for Thanksgiving or any celebration, big or small.

Wishing everyone a beautiful & relaxed Thanksgiving. We are so grateful that you are here!