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Sep 29, 2006 10:45 PM

Heritage turkeys - best breeds, best sources?

I'd like to try my hand at a heritage turkey this Thanksgiving and am overwhelmed by the options. This link ( is a good resource but I'd love some personal feedback.

Anyone have any experience ordering from Heritage Foods USA? They can't guarantee the specific breed but have American Bronze, Bourbon Reds, Narragannsetts, and White Hollands... has anyone tried these, and is there a taste difference?

Also, Bay Area hounds, is there anything raised locally that you can recommend?


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    1. I ordered a Heritage Foods turkey last Thanksgiving. It arrived when promised, in good condition. Turned out to be an American Bronze, and it was very good; everyone enjoyed it. Since that was my first experience with a heritage breed, I can't compare the taste with other heritage birds, but I was very satisfied and would order from them again (though only for a very special meal, given the cost).

      3 Replies
      1. re: cloudy

        We had that last year too and liked it. It was also our first experience with a Heritage bird. If you search Chowhound there were a few discussions about Heritage turkeys. That might help.

        1. re: theotherhalfofdh

          Here's a 2004 thread from the SF board. We did the same thing last year.

      2. Last Tanksgiving I was trying to find a very small turkey as my rotisseri has a 9 pound limit. In any case, I believe small birds taste better than big ones - better texture, less chance to dry out. So, I was really grateful when SF hounds turned me on to the Dieistel Petite turkey at Whole Foods. It was magnificent, in a petite way. I think it is Northern California produced. You should call a week in advance to make sure there will be one waiting for you.

        1. I did a little research on this a few weeks ago and it seemed that the Bourbon Red was often named as the favorite.