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Oct 23, 2007 08:10 AM

Grocery Store Fresh Turkeys in RDU

Does anyone have an opinion on which grocery store is best to order a fresh turkey from? I have Thanksgiving duties this year and right now my options are Harris Teeter, The Fresh Market or Whole Foods. Does anyone have any experience with fresh turkeys from these places or some other options that I might consider? Local farms perhaps?

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  1. At the state farmer's market in Raleigh, where you buy eggs and meat in the farm building, they were taking orders for Thanksgiving turkeys. It may be too late to get one directly from a farm but you could ask. I haven't ordered from any of the markets but I have had a turkey from Fresh market and enjoyed the meal!

    1. The Fresh Market has good turkeys. Place your order there.

      1. I'm not sure myself, but I find it odd that in (one of) the largest turkey producing states in the country that WF is trucking in their heritage turkeys from California. Whatever happened to "Buy Local?" Not to mention the energy wasted in cross-country transportation, effects of emissions, and all that other green stuff they supposedly care about.

        The above information comes from the only person at the Raleigh WF meat counter who seemed to know anything about what kind of birds they would be carrying. I had to talk to 3 people before I found one who could answer questions and, based on the multiple stories I was given, I'm really not too sure who's right.

        And, in light of my recently resurrected rant on Whole Paycheck where I claimed to not have returned there in a year, before anyone yells "Hypocrite," let me explain that I was there under severe duress and was quite unhappy about the whole thing. Still haven't changed my mind about shopping there (or not).

        Earth Fare carries humanely raised, antibiotic-free, broad-breasted turkeys from Allison Farms, a loacl producer. While the taste of the birds is pretty good, they tend to be a bit overprocessed; ie, no giblets and not much fat left. It's a problem if you like to make giblet gravy. You may need to pre-order.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rockycat

          Allison Farms is the local turkey EF carries. They generally have a number of other options to choose from. Often it has to be a little closer to Thanksgiving before they have complete info re: what size, type, producer, etc. will be available. I have had probably 9 turkeys from there and have been very pleased. If you mention you want giblets, etc., they can generally get them for you if the bird doesn't come with, or if you want extra. Just ask ahead of time!

        2. There are fresh turkeys available from local farms, such as:

          Perigrine Farms in Chatham County

          3 Replies
          1. re: VaNC

            I would go with HT fresh turkey when on sale just to save a few bucks. Fresh Market if I just wanted to spend more money. Personally, I dont think you will be able to taste the difference. I think taste depends more on the cook than anything else. How are you gonna cook it- fried, smoked, or baked in oven?

            1. re: webvanman

              I have noticed a difference when I started using fresh turkeys, and using Heritage turkeys is akin to cooking a different bird altogether. After buying fresh turkeys from either the farm or earth fare, I can not go back to store bought frozen turkeys.

              As far as cooking is concerned I follow the recipe in the Cooks Poultry Book including brining the turkey prior to cooking. I have found that this recipe provides me with a nicely browned turkey that is consistently cooked (both white and dark meat).

            2. re: VaNC

              I ordered from Shady Grove this year. They were very pleasant and offer pickup from 3 different locations around the triangle. I will let everyone know how it works out.

            3. We did Earthfare twice and Weaver Street last year. General consensus was that under similar preparations Earthfare's were better but only by a bit. Both came with all useful innards (giblets, heart, liver, neck).

              I'm thinking of doing a whole Johnston County ham this year instead.