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Oct 27, 2009 09:01 AM

Thanksgiving: Organic, Pasture raised Turkey?

Michael Pollan is making me crazy! Nevertheless, I'm hunting for a source of pasture-raised, organic turkey for the holiday. I'm in Nassau but will travel to Suffolk and NYC for such a bird. Please help! And thanks, in advance.

P.S. Any and all sources of LOCAL organic products would also be welcome.

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  1. Try these resources:

    There used to be an organic turkey business in Huntington, Armellino's, but they appear to have gone to the dogs, literally. They're listed in Melville now as a raw diet canine food provider.

    Makinajian's, also in Huntington has organic poultry, eggs and produce but last year they were ordering turkeys from upstate. Still, it could be worth calling them:

    2 Replies
    1. re: mcf

      Much thanks...will follow up on your leads. Toby1355

      1. re: mcf

        I'll second the rec of The birds are very pricey, but worth it for an once-a-year treat. Just fantastic flavor and texture, and there's the social aspect of helping to preserve heritage breeds by making it profitable for farmers to raise them.

      2. Right near me, although not so much you: I've been watching the little guys grow up since the summer. Miloski Poultry in Calverton. Definitely pasture raised as I am a witness. Not sure organic?? They are definitely eating bugs and whatever all day long. They are on Rte 25, end of LIE, phone 727-0239: if you come a few days early you can stop at a farmstand for some pies and produce too. There are 2 or 3 organic farms not far from here, and they grow their own.

        2 Replies
        1. re: coll

          Looks like Miloski's feeds corn and grain, but I don't know if everyone does that to augment pasture feeding? Anyone know if there's such a thing as pasture only turkey? Reading a lot of farm sites, it sounds as if grain is given, too. The article is a few years old, but has a few LI resources in it:

          1. re: mcf

            Glad you posted that, I forgot that Garden of Eve (which is 5 minutes from Miloski's) started raising Heritage turkeys a few years ago, and everything there is totally organic. So if that concerns you, now you have local, free range and organic, and you can pick up your produce there at the same time.

        2. I think you should go heritage (organic and pasture raised) and in this case you usually need to order over the web. Heritage Birds are more gamey and have less white meat, but you will not regret the experience, they will remind you of Grandmothers turkey. Type it in google and a myriad of sites will produce themselves. You order directly from the farm and cut ConAgra out. (Stone Hill is selling turkeys in Westchester and they are an excellent option)

          9 Replies
          1. re: juicypig

            Unfortunately, Stone Barns in Westchester is already sold out this year.

            1. re: juicypig

              I'm very eager to try heritage turkey, but I'm not switching to a gamier bird with less white meat with guests coming, have to try it myself, first.

              1. re: mcf

                I have the same concern, I'm sticking with Miloski. Garden of Eve should do a sampling (just kidding, I'm sure they sell out every year). Did you notice the Mecox Cheese place also raises turkeys?

                My husband gets a free Zorns turkey every year at work, but I think this year I'm going to go with the alternate ham option instead. I remember when Zorns had the turkeys running around outside too, I guss that really dates me. But my husband comes home with a frozen turkey (less than 48 hours before Turkey Day) and it doesn't taste much better than a good grocery store version. I usually just stick it in the freezer for after the holidays, nothing to get excited about.

                1. re: coll

                  I did notice the other listing for Mecox and I'll have to go out and check them out soon, during the glorious autumn driving weather. I used to live much closer to eastern LI.
                  I'm going to stop by Makinajian's because they're local to me now, and ask about their upstate turkeys, too. I've often heard of Zorn's but never ate there; not pasture raised, is it?

                  1. re: mcf

                    No like I said, the ones I get are frozen. You used to see the turkeys running around outside, but no more. Funny they didn't even mention them in the story.
                    Haven't had time to stop at Mecox, and not even positive they are open for retail, if I have a few minutes this week I'll at least find that out.
                    When I lived in the Patchogue area, I used to go to Bello's, I could see them dispatching the turkeys out back, not sure where they came from though. And used to go to Raleighs when I lived in Kings Park, looks like they're still around too.

                2. re: mcf

                  I don't agree that the heritage birds are "gamey," at least not the ones (Bourbon Reds& Standard Bronzes) that I've had. They just have substantially more turkey flavor than the Large White breed that accounts for nearly all "regular" turkey sales, organic or not.
                  It is true, however, that the heritage turkeys have less white meat, which is to say that they resemble actual birds rather than beachballs on legs.

                  1. re: rjbh20

                    One person's flavor is another person's gamey. :-) And except for two of us, it's a white meat crowd, hence my reluctance to experiment for Thanksgiving.

                    1. re: mcf

                      Agreed, I said gamey and to me...gamey is delicious!

                    2. re: rjbh20

                      I have never heard it put better- a beachball with legs! So true!!!

                      We order from Heritage and are looking forward to another delicious meal, and will be using every square inch of that bird for leftovers, stock, etc. Everything we have purchased from them has been out of this world delicious.
                      I would rather have less delicious, rich, satisfying white meat than pounds of strange textured so-so white meat. But then again I am not feeding a crowd this year.....

                3. where does Pollan talk about this issue? I've ordered my heritage pastured bird online but I want to know what he wrote and somehow i missed it last month.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: JennyL

                    JennyL- Pollan does not specifically talk about turkeys. I was using his concerns about poultry in general; that is, they should be pasture raised. As of this date, I have not found any turkeys that are pasture raised and in my budget. At this point, I'm thinking that I'll get an organic bird from Fairway in Plainview next week. I'm not thrilled. These birds are, from what I can see, mass produced organic which looks be be more and more to be like the conventionally produced super market variety. Ce La Vie

                  2. Just saw this story and thought of you, don't know how handy you are with a shotgun though!