Thanksgiving works a little differently for us vegans and vegetarians. We also love to celebrate and give thanks with those closest to us. We also love to share a grand meal and reflect on the past year. We also love pie.
What we do differently is not just swap out the meat with a squash or a store-bought substitute. We also make sure to think about the hundreds of millions of birds who are slaughtered each year during this time and give thanks to the individuals at sanctuaries around the country who take in the more fortunate. We thank the restaurants who cater to our lifestyle of compassion. And we thank the animals who make our lives richer, funnier, eye-opening, and loving.
Below is a list of events happening in the area to celebrate Thanksgiving AND the turkeys, plus options on places to order a vegan meal and desserts:
- November 12: Join Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary for Toast for the Turkeys in honor of the rescued turkeys at the sanctuary.
Two of the residents at Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary, Bill and Sierra. Bill was found wandering the streets of Berkeley before being pickup by Animal Control. He is a gentle giant with the manners of a perfect gentleman. He spends his days gracing the green pasture with his buddy, Sierra. Photo Credit: Christine Morrissey
The event, sponsored by such Bay Area establishments as Cinnaholic, Vegansaurus, D.O.V.E. Distributors, and Rainbow Grocery will also feature a “Humane Harvest” vegetarian food drive, to benefit the Emergency Food Bank of Stockton/San Joaquin.
November 19: Take part in Farm Sanctuary’s annual Celebration FOR the Turkeys which features a vegan feast, musical performance, guest presentations, and the most adored of all – the Feeding of the Turkeys celebration, where the turkeys are the center of attention and dine on squash, pumpkin pie, and cranberries (on silver platters of course!).
Me bonding with a turkey at the 2009 Feeding of the Turkeys. They are incredibly friendly animals and love to socialize and be petted!
This year’s guests will include vegan writer and chef Colleen Patrick-Goudreau and Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter and the new Biz & Livia Stone Foundation, who became vegan after visiting Farm Sanctuary. You will also be able to tour the farm and visit with all the other animals. I was taken to the Celebration FOR the Turkeys for my 30th birthday, and it was the best birthday I ever had (good job, husband!).
Two turkeys enjoying their feast of pumpkin and veggies. At factory farms, turkeys' beaks and toes are clipped (without anesthesia), so these guys have a little trouble eating without getting messy. But they definitely still enjoy the feast that so many turkeys don't get to experience.
Farm Sanctuary (who recently took in 25 baby turkeys from a factory farm that were dumped on their doorstep) truly changes your perspective on farm animals as you spend time with them, experience their different personalities, and watch them thrive in a free and loving environment. [If you can’t make it, consider sponsoring a turkey!]
- November 24: Join Café Gratitude (who recently opened a location in LA!) for their annual vegan Free Thanksgiving Meal, where this super compassionate establishment gives back with a feast served by volunteers from the community.
Cafe Gratitude's Annual Free Thanksgiving Meal. Photo Credit: Cary Mosier
If you prefer to stay in, you can still experience some Gratitude on your table by ordering a pie to go. Their desserts are seriously delicious (and probably the most healthy you’ll ever eat). It's sure to please vegans and omnis alike.
- Order your vegan holiday meal from Souley Vegan, everyone’s favorite vegan soul food restaurant! This year the offerings include Southern fried tofu, roasted garlic mashed potato with gravy, and cornbread dressing, among other delicious options. You can also order pies and cheesecakes.
Check out their homepage for a link to the menu and ordering instructions (order must be received by November 21).
- Cinnaholic is promising some exciting holiday flavors this year, including pumpkin spice and egg nog frostings, and toppings like gingersnaps, candy cane pieces, and peppermint “Oreos.”
Photo Credit: Michael Lang/Cinnaholic
They’ve also teamed up with the aforementioned Harvest Home Sanctuary to celebrate the Toast to the Turkeys by donating, for the entire month of November, 50% of all Baby Bun sales to help out with feeding, housing, and general care for the animals.
Check out this video from last year's Toast to the Turkeys:
And if you are simply looking for a way to complete your holiday table with something sweet, here are a few other places to check out for ordering Thanksgiving desserts:
Wholesome Bakery: Try their Sweet Potato Pecan Baby Pies
Rainbow Grocery: They always have an assortment of vegan treats from various local bakeries.
Mission Pie: They're offering a Vegan Apple-Cranberry crumb-top pie this year for Thanksgiving.
Fat Bottom Bakery: You can special order some Pumpkin Cupcakes with vegan cream cheese frosting.
Idle Hands Baking Company: Try their Spice Cake (gluten-free option available) or Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake.