The last few months of the year come on so quickly it can feel a bit like the rug is being pulled out from under us. If the speedy onset of the holiday season has caught you off guard, it's possible that you haven't ordered your Thanksgiving turkey yet. We're here to help!
If you're thinking about opting out of a boring supermarket bird and upping your turkey game this year by choosing a locally raised or heritage breed turkey we recommend reserving that turkey from your farmer a month before Thanksgiving Day. They sell out that quickly, and for good reason: Many people think local and heritage turkeys just taste better, and helps keeps your holiday money right here in the community.
You might be thinking, "Hey, it's a turkey. Aren't they all the same?" Not really. What most of us know today as a classic Thanksgiving turkey is a Broad Breasted White, selectively bred by USDA scientists over the past 50 years to put on maximal breast meat in minimum growing time. This triumph of modern agricultural science is the industry's answer to what they think we want -lots of white meat, on the cheap. The biological cost of such great efficiency is an ungainly bird, too stocky in the chest to fly or to reproduce naturally. The turkeys sold by our farmers are usually endangered breeds such as Standard Bronze, Narragansett, Black Spanish, and White Holland, or a combination of these breeds. These birds are very similar to what would have been eaten by the Pilgrims. Plus, they are raised out-of-doors like a good turkey should be, and aren't injected with water, salt, preservatives, and flavorings during the packaging process like supermarket birds.
When you call your farmer to order, plan for about 1 1/2 pounds of turkey per person, which will afford you a little bit extra for leftovers. We always plan for sandwiches the next day. When you pick up your order, it will be frozen just like you are used to. Cooking times may be a little less, and there may be a bit more dark meat. Expect the flavor to knock your mother-in-laws socks off! Cook's Illustrated even did a taste test between store bought birds and heritage breeds.
Our handful of family farmers have gone the extra mile to provide you with the perfect centerpiece to your meal.
Each of the farms below has turkeys available - reserve yours today!