Friday, October 30, 2009

Turkey Hunting

It is time to start planning and prepping for Thanksgiving. Barbara convinced me in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle that I should start eating heritage turkeys for Thanksgiving. I was horrified that conventional turkeys are unable to breed without human assistance. I was also shocked that 99% of the turkeys in the US are this Broad Breasted White Variety, and that all other varieties of North American turkeys are becoming increasingly rare. So, last year around this time, I started my search for the perfect local, organic, heritage turkey. Since I spend Thanksgiving with my family in New Jersey, I have to plan for a bird and pickup there. This has complicated the situation further. Last year, after discussion with a member of Slow Food Northern NJ, and debate with my mother, I opted against the heritage bird (because of price) but ordered a local, organic bird from South Jersey and picked it up at The Health Shoppes Local and Organic Market in Morristown, NJ. The bird was fabulous.

This year, I am confronted with the same challenges: Heritage bird, or not. Certified organic, or not. Really local, or "local". And, how long should I really drive for "local"?

I found myself researching on some of the same sites:

I also have a romantic ideal of buying my Thanksgiving bird directly from the farm. This year, it seems that my urge to connect to the farm trumps all the other concerns. After some Internet searching, I came up with two alternatives:

With both these options, my turkey will be farm fresh, processed the week before Thanksgiving. I will also be able to pick up the bird from the farm directly, or from a farmer's market nearby. Both are free range and and "natural", but neither claim to be "organic". The difference, Griggstown has Red Bourbons! The downside with the Red Bourbon in the $8 a pound price tag and 2 hour drive to get it. With the $2 price and location in Bergen County (close to my mom), Goffle Road Poultry has an appeal of its own.

I have posed the question to my mother and we will continue to debate for a few days. My hope is to place an order on one of these birds in the next week. Then, we begin menu and recipe planning.

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