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Oct 19, 2007 12:44 PM

best local birds for Thanksgiving?

Moved away a few years back and returning this year for the holidays. Any good recommendations for a local bird?

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  1. Willie Bird's in Santa Rosa. Put your order in early. They're the best!!!

    11 Replies
    1. re: misscotati

      Second Willie Bird. Best turkey I've ever had. It's what I'll be eating this year.

      1. re: Morton the Mousse

        Third, Willie.

        Please see this recent post with leads on where to order a Willie Bird in SF:

        1. re: maria lorraine

          Hmm---I'm happy to see the recommendations but concerned about the smoked part.
          I don't like smoked birds. Do they have a regular turkey option?

          1. re: Windy

            They sure do. You can find it on their website.

            The direct link to their Fresh Turkeys for Thanksgiving Order Form is here:

            1. re: grishnackh

              Thanks--I got distracted by all the mentions for smoked turkey on their site.

        2. re: misscotati

          I stopped by on Thursday to put in my order for a "small" smoked turkey (8 to 12 lbs) and pick up some parts to make soup this weekend. The store will be open the Sunday before Thanksgiving (usually mon-sat only), and that's the best time to pick up an order. Worth going in person to get extra giblets, turkey sausage, and whatever other things turkey one needs.

          Willie Bird Turkeys
          5350 Sebastopol Rd, Santa Rosa, CA

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Do you have to order directly from the store, or are there other retail outlets (in the South or East Bay, primarily) where you could get one? I tried to look for information about that on their website, but couldn't find it.

            1. re: JasmineG

              You can order one through the Cafe Rouge meat market. They'll brine it for a reasonable fee.

              1. re: Morton the Mousse

                Thanks! I can take care of the brining, but it's good to know that they do it.

              2. re: JasmineG

                I haven't bought one there in several years, but Berkeley Bowl has always carried Willie Bird. I seem to remember that Farmer Joe's in Fruitvale carries them as well.

                Baron's Meats has offered a couple of different brands of "natural" turkeys (Mary's, Diestel) and also organic turkeys (Mary's) and I believe also has some heritage turkeys. Since my BIL is getting a heritage turkey through his workplace, I haven't checked their offerings this year, though.

                In any case, you should order it in advance, like now.

          2. Willie Bird is a good turkey. The meat is delicious, particularly if it hasn't been too frozen. This is the luck of the draw as they say chilled but once at the location they used to have on Stage Gulch road I got one that was very close to being frozen through. And in fact since the package inside was frozen I guess I have to assume it had been frozen. My only criticism is that it has HUGE breasts, and a small rib cage. Since I like bird roasted stuffing and the thighs I don't get a Willie anymore.

            1. Personally, I like the Diestel turkeys. I brine them using a variant of the Zuni recipe from the SF Chronicle.


              3 Replies
              1. re: waldrons

                Susan could you put up a link to that? We're doing T-giving for just the two of us this year, so I can get a little more adventurous with the bird--plus we'll have plenty of crab if it doesn't turn out right.

                1. re: mofo313

                  You can order Willie Bird and Diestel from Drewes Bros in Noe Valley

                  I used Alton Brown's brine recipe last year and it was a great bird.

                  1. re: mofo313

                    Well, my memory is clearly shot... the brine recipe is from Chez Panisse! But here's the link:

                    I order my Diestel from Golden Gate Meat at the Ferry Building.

                    If there's crab for Thanksgiving, I'd never make it to the bird!!

                2. Here's last year's thread on ordering heritage turkeys,

                  1. We prefer Diestel turkeys, too. Here's a link to their store locator:


                    And, by the way, Diestel is now raising and selling heirloom turkeys:


                    Diestel Turkey Ranch
                    22200 Lyons Bald Mountain Rd, Sonora, CA