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Almost Turkey Time

Okay, Boston-area Hounds....you 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. http://stillmansfarm.com/turkeys.html

    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. http://www.bobsturkeyfarm.com/

    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.

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        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: T.Clark

                Apparently, it's a "rafter" of turkeys:
                http://answers.yahoo.com/question/ind...
                but, a tasty rafter!

                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 (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7447...) I stand in line and get fresh turkeys at Bongi's the Sunday before Thanksgiving for our family get together.......my 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.

                              http://www.flickr.com/photos/61246842...

                              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.

                              http://www.flickr.com/photos/61246842...

                              1. re: 9lives

                                FWIW, the venison I tried (up at a restaurant in NH) was rarer than this photo:
                                http://www.flickr.com/photos/61246842...
                                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.

                      3. We get ours at Tendercrop Farm in Ipswich? Essex? thereabouts. Always very good.

                        1. Allandale Farm is taking reservations for turkeys, with a 20 dollar deposit. The form is on their website.
                          www.allandalefarm.com

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: Berheenia

                            whole foods offers heirloom bronze birds for a humngous price (i think they're 4.99 a pounc). they are, however, yummy

                            1. re: Berheenia

                              I was interested in this post on Allendale Farm since it's pretty close to where I live. But I noticed they are charging $4.19/lb. for turkeys from Stonewood Farm in VT. Verrill Farm in Concord is also getting turkeys from Stonewood Farm in VT and only charging $3.49/lb., which is a fairly substantial difference. Allendale's pies and sides were also slightly higher priced.

                              Looks like I'll be making the trip to Concord afterall.

                              -----
                              Verrill Farm
                              11 Wheeler Rd, Concord, MA, MA 01742

                              1. re: MaggieCat

                                We thought this was one of the best turkeys ever - 7 people demolished a 12 pound turkey.
                                How was your turkey?

                                1. re: Berheenia

                                  we loved our mayflower bird which was inexpensive and we loved our heirloom bird which was outrageously expensive. we brine and smoke both birds. the mayflower bird was juicy, the white meat retained a lovely buttery quality, and we're going there again. the heirloom bird was incredible for the dark meat, an almost gamy flavor, and quite different from the mayflower bird. two great turkey experiences.

                                  1. re: teezeetoo

                                    We switched to a Mayflower bird this year, and will not be going back to the Wilson Farm version anytime soon. Though we received a smaller bird than we had ordered, this bird was really good! It really tasted like, well this sounds silly, turkey.

                                    24 hr brine and then smoked on cherry wood, the breast was delicious, but the biggest surprise was how delicious the dark meat was.

                                    All in all, a great success and as you say, relatively inexpensive.

                                    -----
                                    Wilson Farm
                                    10 Pleasant St, Lexington, MA 02421

                                  2. re: Berheenia

                                    God, I would hope that 7 people would be able to take care of a 12lb bird. Guess there won't be any turkey sanwiches at your house today.

                              2. I loved my Russo's turkey and experience last year!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Bellachefa

                                  Can you elaborate on the experience?

                                2. In the interest of time/ease, I just placed my Russo's order yesterday. An 18lb'er. Ours was fantastic last year...so thought we'd just repeat.

                                  1. Savenor's just announced the limited availability of some pasteur-rasied turkeys from the 4 Corners Farm in Newburg, VT. $8/lb with an average size of 20lbs.

                                    http://www.savenorsmarket.com/onlinem...

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: redelephant

                                      yikes, can't imagine it would be worth twice the price as Russo's and Wilsons fresh turkeys

                                      1. re: Bellachefa

                                        I can imagine doing a lot of things with $160, but this is not one of them.

                                      2. re: redelephant

                                        Didn't realize Louis was into birds.

                                        1. re: redelephant

                                          Yow.

                                          On a different note, anyone try the fresh turkeys from Trade Joe's? Supposedly naturally raised w/o antibiotics, etc. for $2.30/lb.

                                        2. I was hoping to go the Allendale Farms route, seemed a good balance of quality and price, however they stopped taking orders yesterday, alas before I got my order in. Apart from Whole Foods, whats my best bet for getting a bird this late in the game?

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: Jonathan Steven

                                            I think Savenor's posted on Facebook that you have a few more days to order turkeys from them, which are from Bob's Turkey Farm in Lancaster, MA. I was in the Whole Foods at Charles River Plaze today and they had Misty Knoll Turkeys for either $3.50 or $4 per pound. I didn't check to see if they were previously frozen or not, but I was impressed that they carried Misty Knoll. I've not had MK turkeys, but I love their chickens.

                                            1. re: redelephant

                                              I haven't had the MK turkeys either but also love their chickens..available at Savenors. Really spoil you for other chickens.

                                              I've been very pleased with my Sulmona turkey the last few years. Fresh killed from a farm in SC. Need to preorder.

                                              1. re: 9lives

                                                Just put my order in at Sulmonas. No deposit, no need to order in person.. hopefully theres no mix up! Was also told they would be in Tuesday-Wednesday.. hopefully gives me enough time for the brine.

                                            2. re: Jonathan Steven

                                              Mayflower Poultry is taking reservations until 6pm today. Hormone, antibiotic free turkeys at $2.39/lb. with a required $10 deposit. Wilson Farms is still taking orders [and always has extras even if you forget to order] at $2.69/lb. Stop and Shop on McGrath has some larger Bell and Evans turkeys on display, also at $2.69/lb.

                                              -----
                                              Wilson Farm
                                              10 Pleasant St, Lexington, MA 02421

                                              1. re: Jonathan Steven

                                                We ordered ours from Tendercrop Farm today, @$2.99/lb http://www.tendercropfarms.com/holida...

                                                I was really intrigued by the heritage turkeys at http://www.kandmfarm.com/ in North Andover but they're sold out for this year.

                                              2. Whole Foods has Jaindl fresh "free range" (in quotes cuz its not like they are grazing on the prairies) for $1.99.