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 Post subject: It's time to order your Thanksgiving Turkey
PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:53 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 6:36 am
Posts: 894
Location: Springfield, IL
Hi,

I have recently begun discussions with our local free-range organic protein farmers about turkey. It may seem a bit early but our farmers require some encouragement and advice.

Do you remember the highest rated turkey ever tasted by the OBB. It was a heritage turkey raised on sweet corn, only sweet corn as I remember, and was highly flavorful, tender and had the highest fat level of any turkey tested! What's not to love about a turkey that has a really high fat content. It is the equivalent of a Belotta, raised on pecans. Sadly that farmer moved from Missouri to Arkansas and disappeared... Now, back to our local farmers.

Last year one farm announced they would raise about twelve "bourbon red" turkeys to be delivered about 10 days before thanksgiving, frozen. They projected $3 per pound and I signed up and began talking to them about the feeding regimen. It seemed that they would mostly eat grasss, bugs, seeds and other forage from the field behind the barn along side their free-range chickens that are too big, too tough and not that flavorful. (Unfortunately, cornish cross breed but that's another story.)

I told them about the sweet corn fed turkeys and they allowed that they would finish the birds on field corn. We discussed weight and they thought they would have bird just my size, 13 - 15 pounds. After some weeks, they suggested that the cost might be more like $5 per pound, but that was not a problem. A few weeks after that they suggested that the birds would be closer to 10 pounds and I could live with that. We even found a way for me to go the the slaughterhouse and pick up my bird fresh....Then things started to change a bit, requiring me to buy a 15 pound fresh free range Amish turkey, not the flavorful heritage breed.

I received my 5 pound, frozen turkey two weeks before Thanksgiving - YES, FIVE WHOLE POUNDS! It was very long and very thin and had lots of red color, kind of looked like a chicken hawk. We cooked the hawk in mid-December. It looked pretty pathetic with those really long, skinny legs and prominent back bone with not too much breast meat.

Against the advice of the bib overall set, I dry brined the turkey to reduce cooking time. I stuffed lots of butter under the skin and roasted breast down.

It was the best turkey we ever tasted, tender with incredible flavor. For once, we both ate breast meat and thigh meat with equal pleasure.

Sadly, my grower thinks that a longer growing is required a bigger bourbon red. I suggested more calories with the same growing period but that would increase the cost. If anyone wants stewed Thanksgiving turkey this year, I have the source.

Tim

ps: My other farmer who raises Mangalitsa hogs (Shirley Temple hairdo with incredibly high fat content.) is thinking about growing turkeys in a sunflower patch next year. Just imagine the fat level of a turkey raised on sunflower seeds. I'm signing up for a 15 pound bird.


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 Post subject: Re: It's time to order your Thanksgiving Turkey
PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:18 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 7:18 pm
Posts: 1244
I am quite sure there are "heritage" turkey farmers around here, but darn if I'm not too lazy to do the research.

There is a Jennie-O turkey processing plant about 1 mile from my house. It is easy to get "enhanced" turkey here, that's for sure. I'll bet if I went over there on unloading day I could score a fresh one for a couple of bucks thrown to the driver, but those poor birds look awful even before they are injected with lots of chemicals. Yum. I should just get my brothers to raise a few on their farm. Maybe I could posit that to them for next year, if I buy the feed and fencing materials. (The hard part is keeping the coyotes and foxes from eating them first.)

Then I wonder if I'll have the gumption to dispatch the birds when the time comes. I've watched my grandmother and mom do it but have never wielded the knife myself.


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 Post subject: Re: It's time to order your Thanksgiving Turkey
PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:21 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:18 am
Posts: 733
Location: Michigan
Tim, very interesting. I'll be curious to hear how this years bird turns out.

L

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 Post subject: Re: It's time to order your Thanksgiving Turkey
PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 1:07 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2009 10:48 am
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Location: Near Ithaca, NY
See below.

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Last edited by KSyrahSyrah on Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: It's time to order your Thanksgiving Turkey
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 7:46 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:18 am
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Location: Michigan
Link goes no where.

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 Post subject: Re: It's time to order your Thanksgiving Turkey
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 7:54 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2009 10:48 am
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Location: Near Ithaca, NY
Try this one: http://www.highpointfarms.net/5101.html. Sorry.

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