Most farms that hand raise your very own special bird needs your support and order now so they not only know how many to raise, but they need to start doing it now so that they are ready for the holidays. It's not like turkeys magically appear in November, although it certainly seems that way with our current food system.
Why bother with this harder to find, more expensive bird? Well, flavor for one. Pasture raised heritage birds taste a whole lot better than your generic supermarket broad breasted bird that can't walk and forgot how to have sex. Your heritage turkey will undoubtedly have had a more peaceful existence munching on bugs, grubs and vegetation rather than antibiotic-laced turkey feed.
From the Seattle Times:
Turkey used to have taste. But that was before turkeys were genetically honed to be not much more than a giant hunk of white meat on stubby legs. Today's conventionally-raised turkey is a freak of nature that, left on its own, would not live a year.
Most turkeys eaten by Americans today are a single variety: the Broad-breasted White. It's a bird bred to grow fast, with huge amounts of breast meat. It's so top heavy in the cleavage it can't walk right; the most it can manage is a waddle. It can't fly, jump or run. And it's so corpulent and misshapen the poor thing can't even copulate; Broad-breasted Whites have to be artificially inseminated.
Where do you find a farmer that sells heritage turkeys? Well, Local Harvest is a good place to start. To read a taste test of a range of different turkeys (from Butterball to Heritage), check out this NY Times article.
Think a heritage bird is too expensive or too fussy? Well, the price of these turkeys represents the true cost of raising an animal in a humane and appropriate manner, rather than an industrialized, genetically modified affair (and by that I mean bred for boobs rather than flavor). So, if the price is too high for you, buy a smaller bird and skimp in other areas. Do you really need all those other dishes and pies anyway?
Okay, now get back to your summer filled with watermelon, blackberries and lemonade...