19 November 2010

Turkey Day 1 of 3: Meeting the Birds

About a month ago I called up my grandmother who usually picks out a turkey from the grocery store. I told her the local farm near me is raising turkeys and I would like for us to get one from them. Grandma gave the green light.

At Greenbranch Farm, no more than a half mile from my house, they started letting people sign up for either a heritage bird or a normal 'butterball' bird (my quotation). They pasture/grassfeed all their animals, so either way you are getting a quality bird. The heritage breeds are, if I am correct, Spanish Black and Bourbon Red.


Some of the heritage birds
$5 per pound. Quite pricey as compared to what you can get in the grocery stores this time of year. For feeding the dogs I usually go store to store and stock up on the biggest birds I can find when they are down to 29 to 39 cents per pound. They usually come frozen and injected with what I will call a capitalist 'brine' - Injected to make the crap meat taste better, using the cheapest ingredients possible to do so, and increasing the overall weight so that you pay more. I usually soak out as much of the industrial brine as possible before feeding to the dogs. Do not get me wrong, in an age of convenience, having a pre-brined bird is nice. And for so cheap too! But brines are easy to make... all you need is time and salt.

But yes, $5 per pound... working out to roughly $75 to $100 per bird. I can see that making most people balk. Hell, when I have bought countless for only $10-15, I cannot help but cringe just a little. However, knowing that these birds have been pastured raised, living with plenty of space and being moved frequently to new grounds, and they will not come with some horrible brine helps make the price sound a little more reasonable. Also, this is a once a year meal, so why not get the best I can get? Lastly, I contacted a few of my relatives who are a little more quality focused and they've offered to pitch in. Quite doable for most people and definitely worth it.

This will be a three part series. The second post shall be on tomorrow's event: processing the birds. I've helped this farm process chickens before... but everyone I spoke with who helped with the turkeys last year spoke of having nightmares the following nights. Fun fun.

Posing in front of their frankenturkey brethren