Joel and I are hosting our first Thanksgiving this year. Right now it's looking like we'll be about 18 people all together, and it seems like time to start thinking about the turkey.
Here's what I've discovered so far:
In the Michael Pollan high-five hierarchy, the things to look for in a turkey are: local, organic, free-range, and heritage. There are eight breeds of heritage turkeys. They differ from conventional turkeys in that they grow more slowly, are proportioned more normally (not like the Pam Anderson of fowl), and have a richer taste.
The Russian River Convivium of Slow Food is offering a limited quantity (180) of 4-H-raised heritage turkeys. You have to order early and go to Petaluma to pick it up. Turkeys are $7.50/lb
Slightly more affordable local options.
Mary's Free Range Turkeys: Available for pre-order at some grocery stores and butchers around town. According to some sources, they sell heritage breeds as well, but I don't seen anything about it on the website.
Willie Bird: Free-range and organic, but as far as I can tell not heritage.
Diestal: Family-owned farm and range-grown birds.
Other handy dandy links I'm keeping on-hand:
- SF Gate article about heritage turkeys: Yeah, it's from 2005, but it's a pretty good primer.
- List of local grocery stores with heirloom turkeys