Why Have A Heritage Turkey For Thanksgiving?
Heritage turkeys are what the Pilgrims ate.
Heritage turkeys are the real deal!! They're what you drew by tracing your hand in kindergarten. They are not some "shrink-wrapped" bird bred by USDA scientists for maximum meat-producing efficiency that carries out its life as a pale-feathered, dumpy creature confined to a cage for life. These are the turkeys of your forefathers - noble and courageous - similar to what you might go out and shoot yourself in the wild.
What about the flavor you ask?
Oh My!! That succulent dark meat - deep-red, gamy, rich, and absolutely beautiful. The meat of a heritage turkey is far more flavorful than that grocery store purchase. This is a result of heritage turkeys' more active lifestyles, and the fact that they're given twice as long as conventionally raised turkeys to reach harvest weight. More exercise and slower growth means fuller-tasting leg meat.
Are you Worried about superbugs and/or overuse of hormones in your food?
Many scientists fear that large-scale antibiotic use in livestock will lead to drug-resistant "superbugs" capable of doing serious damage to us humans and our food supply. While conventional turkeys are raised using antibiotics, our heritage breeds are drug free (though they do grass every day ;). We purchase our feed from another local farmer that produce and grind the feed themselves.
You think Heritage Turkey meat is too Expensive?
"Expensive" is a relative term. Our heritage birds will run you in the neighborhood of $8 per pound, which might shock you if you check out the price of a generic bird (spoiler alert: it's about a quarter of the cost). But keep in mind that Thanksgiving is a special-occasion meal, and viewed another way, heritage turkey is actually a bargain compared to the price of the standing rib roast, prime rib, or leg of lamb that you might splurge on for another holiday meal.
But they're so beautiful, how can you think about eating them?
Here's the fact, Jack... Paradoxically, killing them is ultimately what will save them. We are a registered breeder with the The Livestock Conservancy. We chose to breed the Narragansett because they had become an endangered species as recent as 1998, and are now recovering in numbers. Our Red Bourbons are still on the threatened list. We need the consuming public to help save our birds. Farmers will only invest in propagating these historic breeds if there's a market for them, so.. get ready... The best way to rescue these disappearing heritage breeds is to eat them. In buying heritage, you're doing your part to keep alive breeds that are threatened with extinction.
Still not convinced Heritage Turkeys are the right choice for Thanksgiving?