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Is it too early to think about my turkey?

So, about this time every year, I dutifully submit my turkey order to Whole Foods, and come back with a turkey that's a clearly better than the frozen butterball cement blocks....but I'm getting itchy to drag home a turkey I can **really** brag about. Any suggestions on who's going to have the best birds? (I'm looking for unprepared/uncooked turkey's -- not be confused with the turkey-in-a-box concept.)

Many thanks!

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  1. I still find Whole Foods to be about the best.

    Wilson Farms in Lexington is another place to try.

      1. We ordered our Thanksgiving turkey a couple of weeks ago, from a small farmer in Groton. He raises heritage turkeys for the winter season only. I think he calls the business Fantasy Farm or Fantasy Acres, something like that. We've gotten turkeys from him the past 3 years and enjoyed them enormously.

        1. You might in advance try a turkey from Mayflower Poultry in east Cambridge. No assurance of being organic but it is a small local operation (up near Lowell, IIRC) and their poultry is generally immaculate. They are open on Saturdays but closed on Sundays. Place smells like an old fashioned butcher/poultry shop -- the clean smell of recently killed flesh, which can stun people who never grew up with a butcher or poultry shop.

          Another suggestion: rather than a turkey, try a couple of fresh capons. Mayflower carries fresh capons. Capon is a wonderful thing, woefully underappreciated these days. Big-breasted but tender, full of flavor, well suited to being roasted. If I had a choice of capon versus turkey, I'd choose capon hands down. And I like turkey.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Karl S

            Was at Roche Bros. in West Roxbury today and noticed that they had frozen capons next to the turkeys in case anyone is interested.

            1. re: Iva Katz

              Owens Turkey Farm in Needham has fresh capons all year 'round.

          2. We ordered from Heritage Foods this year from the first time. Not local (Fantasy Farm sounds cool) but we've heard good things and like what they stand for. The shipping requirement is the only downside of trying to be supportive of non-industrial farming.

            http://www.heritagefoodsusa.com/

            1. I get them from Outpost Farm in Holliston. Raised there. Clearly better than any supermarket.
              And you can pick up all the fixins while you're there.

              1. Owens Turkey Farm in Needham.

                1. Stilman's Farm has been taking orders for turkeys - new this year. The Thursday farmer's market in Brookline is done for the season as of yesterday, and I'm not sure if they've stopped the JP one already, but I believe they're still coming to the Copley Square market for another couple of weeks. (Maybe on Fridays only? Not sure.)

                  On a bit of a tangent, Stillman's are branching out into meats as the original farm becomes a network of additional operations run by Glenn Stillman's kids and their spouses. Specifically, Aidan has been raising livestock for the past couple of years and was selling his own pork and lamb at the farmer's markets this summer. He's raised a small flock of turkeys for Thanksgiving and is also planning a meat CSA to start later this winter.

                  We talked with Aidan a month or so ago, and he said that he was thinking of a 6-month plan for the meat CSA - monthly deliveries (to specific pick-up points) of frozen meat, with options to order 10, 15, or 20 pounds a month. Meat would include lamb, pork, beef, and some poultry.

                  We have been members of Stillman's CSA program for about 5 years now, and have been VERY happy with them - this year especially brought us a great variety of veggies and an exceptionally good year for fruit, and the price is good. Genevieve's weekly "box letter" really ties everything together - we get great recipes, information about what might be in the box and what's coming up, and news about life on the farm. The Stillmans are a great family, all really interesting and committed folks, and I admire them enormously for their dedication and their enterprise.

                  1. The Slow Food Society has a listing of heritage turkey farms around the US. I find the price to be a little high but the taste is completely unlike the birds you find at local stores. I don't see MA in the listings but there are farms in VT and ME also there are a few mail order services available if you scroll all the way to the bottom. Good Luck.

                    http://www.slowfoodusa.org/ark/turkey...

                    1. I second the Heritage Foods turkey. I got one last year and was very pleased... with the turkey, not the price ;-) It's the holidays, you can splurge every now and again.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: HaagenDazs

                        How does the shipping work? Can it arrive on the Wed before? What does it come shipped in? Etc, etc.

                      2. You can get many different kinds of turkey- free range, natural, heritage, etc. from Dewars in Newton or Wellesley.

                        1. I know that everyone around here seems to get their turkeys at Gerard Farms. They are a turkey farm in Framingham. While I've had a bunch of food from there, I've never gotten any of their uncooked bird,s so I couldn't say if they are good or not.

                          I used to shop at Wilson Farms all the time before I moved. Their food is excellent.

                          1. To see a large (though I can't vouch for "complete") list of turkey farms in MA, look here: www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/turkey.htm
                            Many farms are bound to be sold out by now, but it's worth a few phone calls. I myself am getting an organic turkey from Out Post Farm in Holliston, and I'm picking it up fresh on Wednesday. And I know that Natick Community Organic Farm has already done their distribution but if you're in the market for an enormous bird (over 30lbs!) they might have a few left.