Talking Turkey

1224522540All right. Fine. The Sox have turned in for the season, my backyard patch of basil is dead, and the wool coats have come out of hiding. We’re deep into fall already. While some of us at Chowder are still sipping rose, I’m ready to get on with it.

And that means one thing: I’m thinking turkey.

I know Thanksgiving seems like a long way off, but this year’s plan requires a little bit more forethought than usual. This time, I’ll be buying a real turkey—and by “real,” I mean “not Butterball.”

I’ve been scouring the web looking for local farms that sell free-range and/or heritage birds. (The term “heritage” refers to the rarer breeds like Bourbon Red and Narragansett, which look far more like the colorful gobblers we drew in grade school than the anemic-looking, top-heavy Broad Breasted White that makes up 99% of our turkey supply.)

If it’s not too late, I’ll order mine from Stillman’s Farm; I also know that Verrill Farm will bring in turkeys from Stonewood Farm in Vermont.

Since I’ll actually be hosting my Thanksgiving dinner in New Hampshire this year, I toyed with the idea of picking one up at the aptly named Twist of Fate Farm, but they only have the Broad Breasted Whites, albeit humanely raised. (I like dark meat, and the heritage breeds tend to have more of it.)

If you’re interested in getting one of these top-notch turkeys, check out Local Harvest’s farm locator. Most places require that you pre-order your bird, so now’s the time to call.

UPDATE: OK, so not everyone agrees with me; if you prefer a milder-tasting bird, a Bob’s Turkey Farm Turkey from Savenor’s may be the way to go. (And at $4.99/lb, it’s a pretty friggin’ good deal.) Me, I’m still thinking happy thoughts about my heritage bird, pecking around Stillman’s as we speak. I just hope it’s worth the 100 bucks.