Thanksgiving Bird

October 31, 2007

Preparing for the feast is half the fun and, if you are hosting, you must organize and plan well before the cooking begins. Thinking ahead, we like the idea of something on the wilder side. We think this is a great find: organic, pasture-raised heritage turkeys to order from a farm near you. Healthfully created with more exceptional taste, these turkeys will remind you how worthwhile it is to seek out family farms.

The turkey farmers who list their birds on Local Harvest have “a commitment to the preservation of small-scale farming as a dynamic part of American culture.” Many of the birds listed are “pastured”, which means they have been raised in the open-air environment of the great outdoors, with plenty of sunshine and space to roam.

Recipe: Turkey Smoked Outdoors (or In)

How to Shop: First, when buying a turkey it is helpful to know what terms mean. “Fresh” turkeys are birds that have never been frozen. “Natural” means the product contains no artificial ingredients, no added color, and is minimally processed. “Free-range” means the birds have access to the outdoor, but does not necessarily mean the product is organic or pastured. Turkeys that contain extra water, broth, butter, or additives to make them plump are labeled “basted”. “No antibiotics”means just that. Second, it is hard to tell much about the quality of a frozen turkey since most are wrapped in opaque plastic. Lastly, turkeys in the 12 to 18 pound range are easier to handle than larger birds and will feed about 8 to 12 people.

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