Heritage Turkeys for Thanksgiving
Anyone have a good source for these? I've been doing Ho-Ka turkeys from City Meat Market in Naperville, but looking for something different. I was thinking about going with one of these:
They are pretty expensive, but hard to find pastured turkey anywhere. This is what I'll get unless anyone has another recommendation. Their grass fed beef is really good.
HoKa turkeys are pastured although the birds kept for Christmas market are kept in sheds after late November. They feed some corn and soybeans in addition to the bugs and whatever else the turkeys can eat in the pasture. Two pages from their web site give details: http://www.hokaturkeys.com/faqs.htm and http://www.hokaturkeys.com/a_green_fa...
My experience is that the combination of outdoor raising plus cold Illinois fall weather produces birds with somewhat leaner flesh but more subcutaneous fat than birds grown outdoors in milder climates or in sheds anywhere. These birds baste themselves.
My experience with heritage turkeys (from a purveyor at the Green City Market) was disappointing. It was expensive, had less meat than turkeys from Ho-Ka, and a higher percentage of dark meat. None of that is problem on its own (I actually prefer dark meat), but no one who joined us for TG that year thought thought that the quality or flavor of the meat was a significant improvement over the turkeys I usually get.
I love grass-fed beef and prefer it to other beef, but I can't say that my experience with heritage turkeys is one that I am interested in repeating.
Maybe someone else has a different experience; maybe there are different and more preferable breeds of heritage turkey, but I am going back to the usual "free-range" turkeys that I get from Harrison's in Glenview.
Green City Market
1750 N Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614
I picked up a Bourbon Red from Caveny Farm a few years back (http://www.cavenyfarm.com/BourbonRedTurkeys.php). It was fine -- better than the Butterball turkeys I grew up with but I'm not sure if it was worth the price (for me). Order soon, though -- many sizes appear to be sold out.
Butcher & Larder is offering turkeys from Gunthrop Farms -- today is the cut-off, though, and the sizes available are pretty limited. I don't see information specific to turkeys, or any mention of what breed(s) they use, but Gunthrop Farms' chickens and ducks are pasture-raised. More here: http://thebutcherandlarder.com/thanks...
You might try calling Fox & Obel, too -- in the past, I believe they have had heritage birds.