This year, our pasture-raised turkeys hail from two farms upstate: McEnroe Organic Farm in Millerton (they also supply our beef), and Northwind Farm in Tivoli. These turkeys are Broad Breasted Whites, a breed that makes up over 95% of America’s turkey population. Is it the same breed as Butterball? Yes. But, is it the same product? Absolutely not. Though breed tells you a portion of the story, the way the animal is raised plays a massive role in meat quality. (Keep reading to find out why.)
Our heritage turkeys are from Northwind Farm in Tivoli, NY. Heritage breed birds differ from your standard Broad Breasted White in a few ways: they take longer to reach their harvest weight (resulting in a richer flavor), and their anatomy is such that the legs are larger and breasts are smaller. The diet, age, and genetics of heritage birds gives them a distinctly different look and taste from their Broad Breasted counterparts.
Nope! All of the turkeys we’re bringing in are fresh, never frozen, and raised on pasture. When a bird is pasture raised, it’s spending the majority of its life muckin’ around outside in the open among a few dozen peers, the wind in its feathers, with a mobile shelter for roosting. They’re eating more natural forage, they’re exercising more, and the result is a more nutritious turkey that’s led a more comfortable life. The “organic” designation tells you more about the animal’s feed than its quality of life: organic turkeys need only have access to some kind of outdoor space (a small patch of concrete counts), with no limit on how many turkeys are confined in one shelter. All in all, we prefer to source pasture-raised animals vs. organic.