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Oct 21, 2008 06:22 AM

Local Fresh Turkey

I'm looking to get a small turkey for thanksgiving, and I'd like it to be local. I know you have to get in early before the turkeys all sell out but I'm having trouble finding places/farms in the area. I'm searching the farmer's markets and I know that Formaggio Kitchen will have some, but they said they'll all be big.

Any tips?



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  1. Owens Poultry Farm in Needham has their own fresh, live turkeys.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bakerboyz

      We bought a 14-lb turkey from Owens this year. It was terrific. Lots of good turkey flavor in both the white and dark meat. The bird came very clean, no extraneous feathers or bits of tissue and very little fat in the cavity. There was also very little fat in the roasting pan after it was cooked. The per pound price was $3.59. The line to pick up the turkeys was long but moved along pretty quickly. I think I had read online that Owens feeds their birds all veg. feed and no antibiotics, but there were not any signs in the store that mentioned this.

    2. I'm not sure what your definition is of a small turkey, but Raymond's Turkey Farm in Methuen has turkeys starting at around 12 pounds and they are fantastic.

      1. Stillmans Farm at Copley has turkeys. they list small as 12-15 lbs

        5 Replies
        1. re: pasta

          The heritage turkey we got from Stillman's last year was much smaller than that - it was well under 10 lbs. (It also cost $100. It was also absolutely the most delicious turkey I ever tasted in my life, but that price was still a bit stunning.)

          1. re: Allstonian

            Does anyone know of any other farms that have heritage/heirloom breed turkeys?

            1. re: celeriac

              I'll follow up my own post for future generations. Bought a small, local heirloom (Narragansett) turkey from Lionette's market. It was very expensive (near $9/lb) but worth it. Very clean tasting, not gamey but intensely turkey-y. I pre-salted, rather than brining, and it was super-moist, EVEN being overcooked 5 degrees or so past where I wanted it. It actually had more fat that I expected (or it looked like) and a wonderful texture. Highly recommended.

              1. re: celeriac

                Just as a final followup, we did a blind taste test with the leftovers v. a conventional kosher bird. Results here:

            2. re: Allstonian

              Following up my own post. With a few family members coming in this year for the holiday, we knew we needed a bigger bird than last year, so we requested a heritage turkey in the 12-15 pound range from Stillman's. We got TWO very small turkeys - one about 5.75 pounds and the other about 6.25. Aidan said that the heritage birds had not grown as big as they'd hoped so there were none over 10 pounds. It's true that between the two of them they added up to 12 pounds, but we ended up with twice the amount of bones, skin, etc. (Amusingly, the gigantic whole chicken I bought from Aidan at the same time came in at clse to 8 pounds!)

              Barmy brined for about 4-6 hours and then we let the birds dry out and rest overnight in the fridge. Even stuffed, they roasted up in no time at all, and were once again quite delicious. But after 2 years trial, I think next year we will stick with Stillman's but go back to the conventional turkeys, which are also delicious, but not near as expensive.

          2. Seven Acre Farms in North REading ( right off of RTE 93), and Wilsons in Lexington have them. Have had them from Seven Acre farms- delicious. Haven;t tried them from Wilsons, but have had good luck with the rest of their meats

            4 Replies
            1. re: macca

              I have had 9-10# capons from Seven Acre too - I prefer chicken to turkey so this was a great way to go.

              1. re: macca

                We had Wilsons this year and it was moist and tasty (even reheated today). Although I do brine it, so I'm not sure that I know the difference between that and a Whole Foods turkey vs a regular market turkey. I usually only target that it is not injected with any solution. Turkey is a once a year endeavor as my lil one has a poultry allergey. But the rest of the family was happy and in one more meal, we will have polished off every bite of our 16lb turkey. I heard a radio talk about Owens and there was talk about people waiting for an hour outside.

                1. re: makonna

                  We're big fans of Owens in Needham. The "long wait" on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, was due to the fact that the weather on Tues. was monsoonlike, so very few folks picked up their bird on Tues.
                  We used a COOK'S ILLUSTRATED ( Nov/Dec 2006 ) method of placing kosher salt under the skin & chilling the breast with ice before cooking. The turkey was very moist & the breast meat was not dried out at all!

                  1. re: TheTrout

                    I braved the monsoon on Tuesday and there was still a long line, but the wait wasn't too bad, 20 minutes or so.

              2. Tendercrop Farm in Newbury has their own hormone free turkeys but I don't know their smallest size.....

                2 Replies
                1. re: Gio

                  Another vote for Owens Poultry Farm in Needham - live turkeys 15 minutes from downtown! For Thanksgiving, you have to call in advance and reserve a bird. If I remember, a "small" is in the 12-15 lb. range.

                  1. re: TheTrout

                    Ditto. Owens also makes fully roasted turkeys stuffed. On a daily basis you can pick up one of their chickens, capons or turkey breasts roasted and stuffed with a container of gray, piping hot from the oven. On occasion we have even found fully cooked ducks. However, I doubt that there products are "organic" or "natural."