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Where's everyone buying their Thanksgiving turkey?

This will be my first year buying (and cooking!) a turkey for thanksgiving here in Boston, and I'm woefully uninformed about where to grab one of the suckers. I'd love to get a nice organic local one for me and the misses (8-10lbs), so I figured I'd shop around a little bit on here.

Buying a local turkey for Thanksgiving this year? When and where?

(My apologies if this has already been discussed -- I couldn't find it)

Thanks!

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  1. Generally it is a bit of a challenge to get a turkey that small, even if you are not looking for locally grown organic birds. If you are willing to give up the requirement for the bird to be local, you can almost certainly get a small organic turkey if you pre-order from Whole Foods. If local is very important to you, you may want to Google for turkey farms here in MA (or at least farms that raise turkeys among other things). A number sell directly to consumers. My turkey will come from my meat CSA, which sells its turkeys only to its regular members. If their turkey flock is like other turkey flocks, you may have to settle for a larger bird. I just got an email from them warning that the birds will almost all be in the 20-30 pound range.

    5 Replies
    1. re: PinchOfSalt

      That's interesting. I'm only used to the bigger birds (20-30lbs) myself, but that's always been for my family back home. The smallest birds Lionette's is selling (13-16lbs) come from CT, but they're really expensive (I think?) at like $4.95/lb. Whole Foods is selling 8-10lb birds, and we might end up going that route. It's mostly the sustainability factor. We just don't want to be ordering some mystery whole turkey from Shaw's.

      1. re: PinchOfSalt

        We asked for a small turkey (one of their heirloom organic varieties) from Stillman's last year, and it was in fact so small that the roasting chicken we bought at the same time weighed slightly more! It was fantastic. But I suspect that all of the Stillman turkeys have already been spoken for this year. Less than three weeks before Thanksgiving is actually slightly late in the game, I'm afraid.

        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

          Wow, BFP, it's good to know that Stillman's does produce small turkeys for those who want them. Was your bird fresh or frozen? Unfortunately, you are almost certainly right about the need to pre-order earlier in advance of T-Day than we are now.

          Just FYI, my meat CSA (Chestnut Farms, love 'em) is charging a flat price for its turkeys, regardless of size: $75. That works out to about $3/pound for a fresh turkey that was raised free range and as far as I understand it meets all (or maybe almost all) the requirements for being called organic, short of getting the certification. The turkeys are delivered fresh. Yeah, that is more than the approximately $1/pound one would have to pay at MB for a fresh factory bird, but sustainability, support of local small-scale agriculture, and knowing that my turkey had a good turkey life have value beyond what goes onto the dinner plate, at least to me.

          1. re: PinchOfSalt

            The Stillman's turkeys are very fresh indeed. The heritage birds are VERY small - I think last year we had requested a 12-15 pound bird and they actually gave us TWO wee things that came in at about 6.5 pounds each. As Barmy mentioned, I spontaneously decided to buy a whole chicken at the same time when I picked up the turkeys, and it was a leviathan that significantly outweighed either of the turkeys.

            We have had both Stillman's regular turkeys and their heritage birds - both have been far superior to anything we've ever had before, including good-quality fresh turkeys from WF, but the heritage turkeys are extremely expensive for what you get and we've reverted to the conventional broad-breasted breed this year.

          2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

            stillmans does still, at least as of yesterday, have regular turkeys for thanksgiving. they do appear to be out of the heirloom ("heritage") varieties, which are more expensive and smaller.

        2. We buy our turkey at Wilson Farms. They source from a farm in Vermont. The birds are delicious. We pick up all of our veggies when we get the turkey. They are taking reservations now, but always have extras for people who forget to pre-order.

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          Wilson Farm
          10 Pleasant St, Lexington, MA 02421

          2 Replies
          1. re: smtucker

            I was at Wilson's yesterday and the turkey order taker guy said they were from PA. Just thought you might like to know, though I can't imagine it makes any difference.

            1. re: kate used to be 50

              Guess they have changed their provider. Thanks for the heads up.

          2. I've been buying mine from Sulmona's in the North End. I think we had a 12 lb'er last year. They buy them fresh killed from a farm in NH and I've been very happy with them. Moderate prices..order in advance.

            We used to buy from Savenor's,who also have a NH farm; but at much higher prices. We really didn't find the big price differential was worth it.

            2 Replies
            1. re: 9lives

              Just talked to Sulmona's. Their turkeys are from the Carolinas and he didn't know anything about how they were raised or care for. Wow. But yes, cheaper - $2-$2.10/lb.

              1. re: hawkeye

                Ms 9 ordered a 12-14 lber yesterday from Sulmona. They were petty busy and didn't really have time to talk about the turkey's background.

                I just looked at Savenor's site. They range fron $4.50 lb for local to $14/lb for wild turkey raised in Texas.

                savenorsmarket.com

                I buy a lot of my beef or chicken at Sav's; but I don't find the payup to be worthwhile for the turkey; particularly as I've enjoyed Sulmona's the last few years.

                I'm also carless in downtown, so options like Wilson Farms, Owens or Russo's aren't really practical for me.

                I suppose I wouldn't mind trying the wild Texas birds but not willing to pay for it..:)

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                Wilson Farm
                10 Pleasant St, Lexington, MA 02421

            2. Owen's Poultry Farm. Fantastic flavor but rather expensive at $8.50/lb.

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              Owens Poultry Farm
              585 Central Ave, Needham, MA 02494

              2 Replies
              1. re: Luther

                I'll be going to Owens as well. I find that the giant ones get a bit dried out (could be my technique) so I've taken to slipping slices of fatback and herbs between the skin and the breast.

                1. re: nsenada

                  I think roasting a whole bird >15 lb is pretty much fruitless however you do it. Either cut it up, go sous vide, or just use a smaller turkey.

              2. Ordered ours from Russo's, who source from Stonewood Farm in Vermont. Have had good luck with them before. Free range and fairly local, though not quite as pampered and responsible as some other choices in the area. $2.98/lb and I think they start with 12lb. birds, though I seem to have misplaced my flyer. It's annoying that the details aren't on their website.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Spenbald

                  I got a flyer in my bag today. (FYI, Russo's tends to be capital-D Dead early Monday afternoons...)

                  $2.98 a pound, from Stonewood Farm in VT. All natural (no antibiotics, hormones, preservatives, nitrates/nitrites), ranging from 12-14 to 28-30 lbs. Phone number to order is 617-923-1500.