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Oct 26, 2010 12:46 PM

Almost Turkey Time

Okay, Boston-area had some great suggestions as to where to procure a yummy/happily raised/local bird last year (we finally decided on Russo's...but only because we were sort of late to the 'table').

Any tips on where the 'must have' birds are waiting to join that Thanksgiving Farm in the sky?

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  1. I'm getting my happy bird from Stillmans. It will be delivered via their booth at the farmer's market near the Charles Hotel on the Sunday before (but you can also pick up from their booths later in the week at Copely or in JP or go to the farm I guess). They were already sold out of their heritage birds weeks ago when I looked into this (and by "I" I mean my awesome girlfriend). Damn! But happy traditional birds are/were still available.

    I also inquired at Savenors and they will be taking orders starting in November (they said three weeks out from Thanksgiving) for turkeys sourced from Bob's Turkey Farm in Lancaster.

    1 Reply
    1. re: redelephant

      I've had a Savenors bird in the past, fine. Trying Stillman this year just for something different, looking forward to it.

    2. whole goods carries humungously expensive but very good heirloom birds and Mayflower carries reasonable, excellent, anti-biotic/anti-hormone free birds but neither organic nor local (I think they come from connecticut).

      2 Replies
      1. re: teezeetoo

        do you have to order from mayflower, or can you pretty much roll up a couple days in advance and get one?

        1. re: jgg13

          You are encouraged to order in advance, but I have bought at the last minute. They also have capons which are't the traditional turkey, but are a nice size for a smaller group of people.

      2. Owens Poultry Farm in Needham raises very nice hormone/antibiotic free birds. Call to order.

        Owens Poultry Farm
        585 Central Ave, Needham, MA 02494

        1. The Meat House in Brookline is taking pre-orders for free range turkeys from Misty Knoll Farms in Vermont ($3.95/lb).

          2 Replies
          1. re: Gabatta

            Everyone at our table declared the 16lb Misty Knoll Turkey the best ever. The 24 hour buttermilk brine probably didn't hurt.

            The Meat House was very civilized for turkey pickup on Wednesday in contrast to the zoo which was Wilson Farms on Tuesday am. At 7:30a, cars were backed up onto the street waiting to get in the lot, and soccer moms were ramming each other with carts to get the first bag of onions. Ahhhh...the holiday spirit washed over me.

            1. re: Gabatta

              Sounds almost as bad as waiting in line at John Dewars for the Christmas beast! We are definitely trying the Meat House this xmas.

              Meat House
              655 Main St, Walpole, MA 02081

          2. on a slightly different note, anyone know of a place that would let you hunt a wild turkey and then clean it for you? Curious how a really fresh turkey would taste...been doing the catch/eat fresh fish thing lately...

            17 Replies
            1. re: Spike

              The turkey hunting season ended Saturday.
              The 6-day fall turkey season begins on the last Monday in October and continues until the following Saturday. Spring hunt is 4 weeks long. I have a gaggle of about 16 that walk through my yard every morning, a couple look real tasty.

                1. re: justbeingpolite

                  I thought he was talking about the hunters.....

                  1. re: justbeingpolite

                    I should've known better than to post without confirming....
                    Back on subject, I order 3 small fresh kill turkeys from Bongis Turkey Roost in Duxbury.

                    1. re: T.Clark

                      How'd you do that? Bongi's doesn't take preorders on their fresh birds.

                      1. re: CapeCodGuy

                        Huh! Exactly as I posted on your Southern NE thread ( I stand in line and get fresh turkeys at Bongi's the Sunday before Thanksgiving for our family get wife reminded me of that after I posted this and subsequently told her don't forget to order the birds! For some reason I thought we ordered them, but of course you can only pre-order fully cooked turkeys with the fixins, which I've done many times "out-of-season". Guess that's why I'm confused. Maybe I'll see you in line?

                  2. re: T.Clark

                    bummer...wanted to experience same day killed/cooked wild turkey. Next year hopefully...

                    Anyone know how "fresh" turkeys are from various farms? There's no way they're going to kill/clean hundreds of them on the day people pick them up...

                    1. re: Spike

                      On good authority wild turkey tastes like sh&%. The bird that is, not sure about the bourbon.

                      1. re: T.Clark

                        I have experienced several wild turkeys killed by my brother (a hunter). they are typically pretty lean (i.e. dry) so proper cooking is required. Their diet is also very important, so what sort of forest/wildlife area that they feed in definitely impacts their taste. So I would guess that those wild turkeys that were around the Longwood Medical Area in years past that ate garbage and god knows what else would not be the best.

                        1. re: redelephant

                          so worth experiencing or no?
                          Venison I thought was ok but a bit gamey and had to be eaten very rare, but that was at a restaurant and I have no idea how old it was...

                          1. re: Spike

                            I would be okay if I had never eaten them. Freshness does matter, and getting a bird that has never been frozen, but I don't think a wild caught bird can compete with a well-fed, well-cared for, somewhat obese free range farm-raised turkey.

                            Venison is another good example of farm raised versus wild. The wild deer in Ohio typically eat a lot of corn from farms, while the deer in West Virginia eat a lot of ramps and forest stuff. So they taste a bit different, with the Ohio-based deer tasting more similar to farm-raised venison while West Virginia deer taste very gamey to me (in my experience).

                            1. re: Spike

                              most states do not allow restaurants to serve wild game. if you had venison off a menu, it was most likely farm-raised.

                          2. re: T.Clark

                            game birds are not typically eaten same day. they're best hung at least a few days in proper storage after gutting and cleaning.

                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                              Birds should be well hung..:)..3-4 days min. Otherwise they are very stringy..still can be dry and I used bacon when cooking. After this hunt some guys made a chile out of fresh killed. Nice idea but pretty poor eating.


                              Wild venison doesn't have the fat content as farm raised or beef and it's important to cook a roast rare/MR. Stir frying isn't bad for thinner cuts because you're adding oil.


                              1. re: 9lives

                                FWIW, the venison I tried (up at a restaurant in NH) was rarer than this photo:
                                Still wasn't too impressed...a bit gamey.

                                More on the the turkey front, Costco in Everett is also carrying organic turkeys now..much smaller than regular ones...maybe 10lbs? $2.29/lb IIRC.

                                1. re: Spike

                                  This tasted more like a less flavorful (less fat) than a USDA Prime or Waygu beef..not really gamey; but I suppose that comes from the animals diet...I'm guessing a lot of apples in this case

                                  If you want "rare" i 'd have to track down the pics of venison tartare that I made..couldn't find too many people to share...:)

                      2. re: Spike

                        I have grown up eating wild Turkey in PA. and I have to tell you it's very differnt from the raised birds, if you like eating wild game, and are carfull of chewing buckshot go for it but I would rather buy and brine then smoke a free range bird.

                        Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year but I always consider who is comming before getting to Wild on the main event, I save that for new years eve!.

                        Have fun and enjoy the people fist.