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Nov 11, 2006 04:53 AM

diestal turkey prices? availability

In the Berkeley/El Cerrito area who has the best prices for Diestal Turkeys? Or are they pretty much offerred at the same prices everywhere? Anyone have another type of bird that they like? Is it worth the $$ to go with a Heritage bird? I've had the Diestal Birds before and liked them but have limited success with others....

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  1. oops! meant to say " I have limited experience" with others ( Willie Bird, or Heritage Birds) Feel a bit like John Kerry - having to further explain my original post :~)
    did some calling around and the diestel birds are around $2.00 for the regular Diestel. $2.69/2.79 for the organic variation. That's Whole Foods - Berkeley. Armond's Meats in the El Cerrito Natural Grocery Store, and I believe that Diestel is also carried at Colusa Mkt. in Kensington, Enzo's Meats in Oakland and the Point Richmond Market, Point Richmond.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gordon wing

      We just ordered a Diestel through Drewes Bros. on Church St.

    2. Melanie who buys her birds direct from the farm at Willie Bird may disagree with me, but I prefer Diestel WAY over Willie Bird. Like you, I have always had outstanding results with Diestel.

      That being said, I didn't find a bit of difference taste-wise between the organic and regular Diestal. Unless I was in one of my organic-only moods, I doubt if I'd buy another organic Diestal. Also it seems the sizes of the organic birds are smaller so if you need a large turkey it might be harder to get. It's not like I eat organic all that much. I try to, but it doesn't happen and the price isn't worth it for me for that one item.

      Yeah, at Thanksgiving I'd go with easy in and out. Skip Whole Foods unless you are planning to shop there or pick up your turkey when the doors open. It is just too much of a mob scene ... unless you are into that ... there are years when I like the whole festive insane ambiance of shopping the day before Thanksgiving at a market like Whole Foods.

      As to the others, they are all reliable ... go for price and proximity. Easy to get to and easy to get out of. I prefer Colusa Market ... which IIRC did have a Diestel sign up ... over Point Richmond Market. They are both good markets but IMO, Colusa is better.

      Other places that you might call is that new joint that Ruth mentioned someplace up near Clairmont. There is Van der Bruggs(?) the market next to La Farine and that chicken joint near Monterey Market. The problem with all of those places is that parking is going to be tight at that time.

      9 Replies
      1. re: rworange

        Should note that I buy a SMOKED Willie bird, and I like going to Willie Bird's store year-round for turkey carcasses, parts, giblets, sausage, etc. Very handy to make the gravy ahead of time.

        1. re: rworange

          Ver Brugge, you mean. There's always a super long line there the days before Thanksgiving, but parking tends to not be so bad (especially if you tag team it with something you need at Safeway and park in the Safeway lot).

          This year I ordered my turkey from Berkeley Bowl, which I think is a clear sign that I've gone insane.

          1. re: JasmineG

            "This year I ordered my turkey from Berkeley Bowl, which I think is a clear sign that I've gone insane."

            This made me laugh really hard! I feel you.

            1. re: JasmineG

              Why? Because of the crowds or because you know something horrible about them that we don't know?

              1. re: oakjoan

                The crowds, the crowds!! I accidentally went to Berkeley Bowls the day before Easter at opening time. It was a full-contact sport that left me depleted and exhausted. I love and fear that place.

                1. re: celeste

                  Yeah. One of the biggest shopping errors I ever made was going to the Bowl on the Tuesday before T-Day, thinking I would miss the day before T-Day crowd. Boy was I wrong. The only upside was that at least they hadn't run out of everything -- I remember once going at the last minute and they were out of a lot of the ingredients for traditional T-Day dishes.

                  Plus, I swear that Thanksgiving is to cooks what New Year's is to partiers: amateur night. People who never cook are all of sudden inspired to cook a multi-course meal for a dozen people, and not only that, but it can't just be stuff they know how to cook, it has to be Grandma's cranberry sauce, and Uncle John's gravy, etc. Those people then wander around the market with dazed looks wondering where the sage is and whether you can use tarragon instead, because the market is out of sage.

                  1. re: celeste

                    Opening's a great time to go to Berkeley Bowl if you can get by with a handbasket. You can get in and out before the line forms.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      I claim that the best time to hit BB is between 4:30 and 5 p.m. on a week day.

                      Ah, I wish I were really wealthy and had a staff to pick up the turkey and fixings.

                      It's funny about what Ruth said about cooks and Thanksgiving.
                      My sister and I take turns because it's so boring to do Thanksgiving. We're always arguing "Nosirree! I did NOT do Christmas twice in a row!" "Yes you did! Remember? I was blah blah blah"

                      We have certain dishes that everybody HAS to have and that limits our creativity. Dessert is probably the only course where we're allowed to fool around with cause nobody's wedded to pumpkin pie.

                  2. re: oakjoan

                    Yeah, definitely the crowds. It's a 20 minute wait in line (in the express line!) on a normal day. I can't imagine how bad it will be on Tuesday.

              2. RW, thanks for sharing your experience with the Traditional Diestel and the Organic version - I was wondering if there was much difference flavor wise..... I'm inclined to stick with the regular version which I've always enjoyed.

                1. Per, what Diestel's selling as "heirloom" turkeys are not a "heritage" breed by the Slow Food definition, they're an early modern-type breed developed in the 1930s. See the note at the bottom of this page:


                  1. I got a Diestel Petite turkey from Whole Foods in SF last year for $2.99 # - it was tender, juicy, and flavorful. A nine pounder I roasted in my little rotisserie. You need to call to make sure they hold one for you, or oder one if they don't have one - which they will do. Call just to be on the safe side.