Where are you getting your turkey? (Boston)

Well it is that time of year when I’m starting to plan the big “T-day”. (With travel and work, I have to start now).

Where are people getting their turkeys and what types are you planning on purchasing? Are you pre-ordering your bird or just hoping they will have what you want when you go to buy?

Last year I bought my turkey from Pete and Jens Backyard birds locally. You do need to pre-order. I believe last year I got an “heirloom” bird, which is essentially a cross between a broad breasted white (regular grocery store birds) and a heritage breed (one of the designated actual “old world” turkeys before they started all the inbreeding to get huge breasts). A few years ago I cooked 4 turkeys to do a side by side comparison of the various types of birds. Given the price differences we all decided that the “heirloom” was a better value than a true heritage, with little flavor or texture differences, but they are both still much more expensive than a standard organic broad breasted white. So we were ultimately torn, but decided we wouldn’t do a heritage again unless it was a good bonus year. (I don’t remember the relative cost differences anymore but they were substantial.

Anyone have a great Boston source that you use? I may end up back at Whole Foods (assuming they do that here in Boston - they did back where I used to live) . . . . .

I preorder to make my life easier. MF Dulock and Savenors are both excellent sources and convenient to me. I forget what we specifically got fro Dulock last year, but it was local, antibiotic free, pasture raised and fantastic.

In past years, I’ve gotten mine from Russo’s and have been very happy.

I’ve been getting them from Mayflower the last few years. They’ve all come out great.

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Yes, have been happy with Mayflower in the past as well.

The Trader Joe’s turkeys (<$3/#) are all-natural, with the smaller breasts and larger legs in which room to exercise results. I had one several years ago - it looked more like a pelican than a Norman Rockwell bird. Flavorwise, I don’t think it was all that memorable. There’s
also Seven Acre Poultry Farm, close to Rt. 93 in North Reading. These are broad-breasted whites raised in a barn that opens onto a large wire enclosure, so the birds do have the opportunity to move around outdoors and eat the occasional bug. Reserving one ahead of time is recommended but not required. They also have chickens and capons. You have to pre-order capons.

I am always sceptical about “natural” especially at large chain supermarkets - there are no legal rules what can be called natural and so it has no meaning (and you can call everything natural). It is worth discussing how for example the legal rules about organic have changed (and weakened) over the years but at least there are clear rules and not everything can be called organic

The TJ flyer, which will come out next month, always details the specifics of the husbandry of these turkeys, providing ample info upon which to make one’s decision.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold