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Nov 23, 2005 09:46 PM

Willie Bird Turkeys, Santa Rosa

  • m

On Monday morning I pulled into the lot at Willie Bird soon after opening (8:30am). A refrigerated trailer for storing the extra inventory for this peak was unloading pallets stacked with fresh birds. I stepped inside to find only two people ahead of me in line. By the time I'd filled up two coolers with the 10 lb. smoked bird I'd ordered ahead and as much turkey bones, giblets, sausage, and necks as they would hold, the line was about a dozen deep and the parking lot was full. I expressed my appreciation to the stalwart staff for the happiness they were providing for thousands of people this week.

Willie Bird Turkeys®
5350 Sebastopol Road, CA 95407
Tel: (707) 545-3308 or Toll Free: (877) 494-5592 Fax: (707) 545-6258
Retail Store: (707) 545-2832
Restaurant: (707) 542-0861



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  1. I've never stopped there on my way to Santa Rosa, but will have to soon. I will go far for turkey bones. We ate a wonderful 20 pound Willie Bird yesterday, ordered from Vallerga's in Napa. It was wrapped in plastic and included the neck but no giblets. You should have seen me searching every crevice for them. Heartbreaking.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Junie D

      What a shame, I would have been upset too. I've bought the bones many times. The frozen bags have what amounts to two carcasses in them broken down. I was surprised to find one liver and half of a gizzard in the bag this time --- guess we found your errant giblets. These bones are pretty meaty. After roasting the bones, I pulled the meat off. Not trying very hard, I salvaged nearly two cups of meat that I mixed into the sausage stuffing.

      The retail store is on Hwy 12 just west of Llano Road. When you're in the neighborhood and to give you another place to shop, head south on Llano to

      Joe Matos Cheese
      3669 Llano Road
      Santa Rosa 95407

      Buying directly at the farm, the price of St. George cheese is something like $5 per pound. A lot less than what you'll pay at retailers who buy from the distributor and sometimes there's a wheel with a little more age on it if you like that.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        When I picked up my smoked turkey and fresh parts on Sunday, I took my own advice and dropped by Joe Matos Cheese farm too. The current price is $7 per pound for the raw milk Sao Jorge style cheese. It showed well with some Sonoma County wines at last night's party: 1995 Rosenblum "Maggie's Reserve" Samsel Vineyard Zin, 1995 "Counterpoint" Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon and 1995 Laurel Glen Sonoma Mountain Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Are they always open on Sun or only because it's the weekend before Thanksgiving? I noticed the door sign said Closed Sun.

          1. re: hhc

            Don't know. When I first started going there and asked about hours, I was told someone was always at home on any day and any hour to sell cheese. Maybe that's changed now.

            Matos Cheese Factory
            3669 Llano Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95407

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              sorry Melanie..I was asking about Willie Bird Turkeys in Santa Rosa..Are they open on Sun or just for last Sun?

              1. re: hhc

                Willie Bird is normally closed on Sunday, but for the weekend before Thanksgiving. When I reserved my turkey and specified Sunday pick-up, the clerk gave me a knowing look. She agreed with me that it's the best day to come in and not nearly as crowded as Saturday is because most drop-ins don't know about it.

                Was sorry I didn't have time to stop by Dehlinger's open house, usually this weekend as well.

                Willie Bird Turkeys
                5350 Sebastopol Rd, Santa Rosa, CA

    2. After reading the paper today, I say To hell with Willie Bird or any of the other free range, hormone free Turkeys. Next year I'm getten my 12 guage, marchin over to Berkeley, and I'm gonna bag one of them there wild critters myself!!

      1 Reply
      1. re: steve

        Lots more wild turkeys in beautiful Sonoma County, I bet, they love eating wine grapes. Some vineyard owners keep a crossbow handy for taking them out . . . in season, of course.

      2. Does the price change if you do a pickup rather than shipped bird?

        1 Reply
        1. re: theSauce

          Dunno. I pick up because that's easier for me to plan than waiting for a delivery.

        2. On Thursday I picked up my pre-reserved smoke turkey and lots of parts to make stock and gravy ahead of time. I overheard the staff telling people who called that the organic turkeys are sold out and to try Williams-Sonoma to see if an organic Willie Bird might still be available. Mid-size antibiotic-free, free range turkeys were sold out too. We stopped at Matos afterwards and were surprised by the newly painted sign. Cheese price is holding at $7/lb. A surrealistic scene of huge piles of pumpkins being chopped with shovels and then fed to the dairy cattle. Now we know what happens to the pumpkin patches post-Halloween.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Melanie Wong

            plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose
            May they get as many years out of the freshly painted sign as they did out of the faded one.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Yes, I read once that most of the pumpkins grown for Halloween end up as cattle feed, since that variety doesn't have the right flavor or texture for human consumption. I wonder if all that pumpkin makes the cows milk (and resulting products) more yellow?

              How much are the frozen bones at Wille Bird?

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                I think the Matos St. George raw milk cheese is aged about 4 months. So, I did think about coming back in 4 months time to see whether the cheese tastes of pumpkin or not.

                I think the bones are about 80¢/lb. I was thinking about you stock-making night. Roasted the bones, aromatic vegetables and apples before boiling them and was careful to peel off the golden brown prime piece of skin from the back bone from four of the carcasses for a cooks' treat.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Here's a photo from TLC Ranch in Aromas showing the truckload of organic pumpkins they got from a neighbor. They'll be fed to the pastured pigs.

              2. Forgot to mention that I saw a handwritten sign at Willie Bird for a $8 charge to bone out turkeys. Presumably for those planning to make turducken.