HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >

Discussion

ontario heritage turkeys?

  • 7

I'm already thinking about Thanksgiving (early October). I'd love to prepare a heritage turkey, but I can't find any in Ontario. I've looked at Rowe, Beretta, and a few turkey-specific farms. Does anyone know of any good sources? Has anyone in the GTA ordered heritage turkeys before, that they've been happy with? If so - where from?

Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. 'Round the Bend Farm north of the city sells them. They don't give them away though.

    DT

    1. There was a woman selling turkey and duck at brickworks this past Saturday. She told my husband they have heritage turkeys for sale/would have them for Thxgiving. Maybe check them out next weekend.

      1. Please, will someone describe a commercial, heritage turkey for me? Are they similar to our local wild turkeys?

        2 Replies
        1. re: DockPotato

          Not necessarily. You can probably find good articles online about turkeys. But large-scale turkey production has favoured one species of turkey - the "Broad Breasted White" turkey. It's popular because there is a much larger proportion of breast meat on this species (and it's been bred to increase this characteristic). The downside is that other species of turkeys are decreasing in number due to lack of demand, and breeding being supplanted by more popular species. So a wild turkey could be any species - a heritage turkey is (as I understand it) any species other than the "Broad Breasted White" turkey cultivated so exclusively for industry. I'm not sure, but a heritage turkey could potentially be a Broad Breasted White turkey that is NOT from a line that was genetically enhanced to deliver more breast meat. Of course this means that a heritage turkey will have less breast meat than most people are used to...

          1. re: bellywizard

            All domestic turkey breeds originate from the North American wild turkey species. They are all the same species, but over many centuries, various breeds were developed, including the now heritage varieties, and the broad breasted breeds (white and bronze). The heritage varieties breed naturally, whereas the broad breasted must be artificially inseminated. Check out the following link for more info on heritage turkeys.

            http://www.albc-usa.org/cpl/turkdefin...

            There are a few farms in Ontario that you can buy heritage turkeys from, but very few raise them in large numbers. Most are breed conservationists and you'd have to contact the farmer directly to buy a bird to eat, which are available since not all males are needed after the hatching season is over.

        2. Save your money. Neolithic "wild" heritage turkeys are a scrawny and gamey conceit. Tried one last year with friends and simply wondered, "why?" Heritage pork is another matter but turkeys? No thanks.

          1. The Healthy Butcher is taking orders for turkeys and they have a heritage breed available. They are also not giving them away. This said, it's only once a year and I'm going to give it a shot because I want to support this kind of farming. I will try to remember to report the results here.