Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Order your holiday turkeys now

Turkeys? In the middle of summer? No, I'm not nuts. If you have any interest in sharing a heritage, pasture raised turkey with your family this holiday season you have to think ahead. And, I'm not talking about a few weeks before Thanksgiving. I'm talking now. In fact, in some areas you may be already too late.

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...


Anonymous said...

I just finished "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle", and I found the bits about turkeys to be fascinating. Which surprised me, because I'm actually sort of afraid of them in real life.

Anyways, thanks for the reminder. I'm off to see if I can search out a heritage bird up here in Canada.

Sylvia said...

I actually knew a guy who was a turkey semen collector for a bit! He said the male turkeys actually recognized him and would roll over in excitement when they saw him. Hmm maybe they're not as dumb as it seems! I'm just sayin', they seemed to know where their action was coming from... Blech! ;P

Farmer's Daughter said...

My in-laws are raising a dozen turkeys this year, and they're all already spoken for. They're not free-range because they'll get eaten by something (even a neighbor's dog), but they're in a big pen outside, which maybe would qualify as free range using the gov't regs, and they're a heritage breed (I forget which one). Anyway, many small folks won't get more turkeys than they know they can sell, so in some areas peole may be WAY too late.

Greenpa said...

Hey, Snugs; do you know what those trees are in the photo? I'd be interested. Not a system I recognize, though I can see the graft union near the bottom...

Crunchy Chicken said...

Paps - It's an orchard of walnut and almond trees.

Robj98168 said...

LOL Why eat turkey anyway? I prefer a good roast or a nice piece of fish. Although I do like deep fried turkey,hmmmmmm you may be on to something

Amy said...

Amen, sister!! Wonderful post.

I just love turkey and this year will be our first for fresh turkey! We're excited!