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Jul 21, 2010 12:58 PM

Heritage Bird for Thanksgiving

Pittsburgh, PA hound here, though I spent my formative years in Berkeley. My wife and I are cooking Thanksgiving supper this year at my parents' place in the East Bay. This is the time of year where I normally reserve a turkey. I have a great source here in Western PA, but I'm clueless as to whom to call in the Bay. I could just go through Heritage Foods USA, but I'd rather go local if possible. So who grows the best birds?

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  1. Marin Sun Farms distributes heritage birds grown by Bill Niman.

    1. Are you looking to go straight from the source? If not, many of the local markets can order them for you, so I usually choose the one with the easiest parking. Mary's is the largest producer, and I usually pre-order my heritage turkey from Andronico's.

      1. This past Thanksgiving we got a heritage turkey from the San Rafael Whole Foods and I haven't eaten turkey since. Without going into too much detail, it wasn't properly plucked/cleaned, and Thanksgiving was like an episode of 'Six Feet Under'. I brought a photo to WF the next day and got my $ back (somewhere in the $80-$100) range if memory serves). I don't remember the name of the heritage producer, but we'll be getting this year's turkey at Magnani in Berkeley as we have in the past.

        1. You can order a range of different turkeys at Berkeley Bowl, Diestel, Willie Bird, local, heirloom...and get all the produce and trimmings as well.

          Berkeley Bowl
          2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

          1. You can buy a heritage turkey grown locally by a 4H kid through Slow Food Russian River's Heritage Turkey Project.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Melanie Wong

              My recommendation exactly. Last year we ate an organic free range Willie Bird, but this year we're planning the 4H route.

              Willie Bird's Restaurant
              1150 Santa Rosa Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

              1. re: dotMac

                I haven't tasted one of these birds yet, but I have a few friends who have been in the program since the beginning and they're sticking with it. This just reminded me that I talked to another acquaintance at a Christmas party who said that he had assisted with dispatching the birds and helping the kids. I'm considering being a volunteer this year.