In my opinion, most turkeys have had the delicious bred right out of them. They have big breasts, since most Americans prefer white meat. They dry out easily, they taste bland and they take approximately 1 million years to cook.
There are so many reasons to seek out a heritage-breed* turkey. The most immediate is that the taste difference is incredible. The fat to dark meat to white meat ratio makes them more tender and moist. Also, they aren’t bred to reach maximum weight as quickly as possible. Their longer life and the ability to move around, creates a more developed flavor in the meat.
Also, it is very important to preserve diversity in the food system. Nature has taught us again and again that we will end up relying on the minority breeds of plants and animals when disaster strikes. But if these birds don’t get eaten, farmers will not keep raising them.
Another reason is that there is an element of adventure. To get your bird, you will have to order it or seek out a farm or talk to your butcher. While that effort may seem strenuous for the average meal, I think it is fitting for the Thanksgiving table. Effort creates gratitude. Your family will be thankful for the meal and for the story you will have to share. And hopefully, getting closer to the source will grace you with gratitude for the turkey’s life, for the farmer who raised it and for your own sweet place in the cycle.
~Marissa Guggiana, BG Co-founder
*Heritage turkeys are the ancestors of the common Broad-Breasted White industrial breed of turkey that comprises 99.99% of the supermarket turkeys sold today.
I get my turkey here (in Sonoma County, Ca)
Heritage Foods will mail birds