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Heritage Turkeys


outofthefrypan
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I recently read somewhere that the Slow Food organization was passing off the marketing and distribution of "heritage" turkeys such as the Bourbon Red to a new for-profit company called Heritage Foods USA. The place I read this also provided contact information for farmers in the Midwest who were raising heritage breeds. I would like to try to buy a turkey direct from one of these farmers if possible (preferably the one in Ann Arbor???), but CANNOT for the life of me remember where I saw this listing. Searches of all my periodicals and the internet are turning up nothing. Was it a Slow Foods mailing? A Chicago paper? Can anyone help locate this piece or another source for farmer contact information? I served one of these turkeys a couple of years ago and it was worth the effort, but I'd like to avoid the crazy shipping cost this time around.

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I recently read somewhere that the Slow Food organization was passing off the marketing and distribution of "heritage" turkeys such as the Bourbon Red to a new for-profit company called Heritage Foods USA. The place I read this also provided contact information for farmers in the Midwest who were raising heritage breeds. I would like to try to buy a turkey direct from one of these farmers if possible (preferably the one in Ann Arbor???), but CANNOT for the life of me remember where I saw this listing. Searches of all my periodicals and the internet are turning up nothing. Was it a Slow Foods mailing? A Chicago paper? Can anyone help locate this piece or another source for farmer contact information? I served one of these turkeys a couple of years ago and it was worth the effort, but I'd like to avoid the crazy shipping cost this time around.

Well, I don't know where you read it, but you might call Heritage Foods and see if they'd be willing to put you in touch with a local source. Both Patrick and Todd say they're eager to help the farmers, so they may be willing.

You might also try your local Slow Food convivium. Here in NoCal last year, a local effort was available for people who wanted to buy from a Sonoma County farmer rather than some arbitrary turkey farmer.

And I agree about the birds. I've had them two years running for Thanksgiving, and they've been fantastic.

Derrick Schneider

My blog: http://www.obsessionwithfood.com

You have to eat. You might as well enjoy it!

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There was a mention about Heritage products in the September 15 issue of the Chicago Sun-Times.

You can also contact Slow Food Chicago here

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

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You read it in the november issue of Bon Appetite........they talk about the different kinds of turkeys avaliable.......the website at which you can buy the turkeys is given but I forget it now.

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You read it in the november issue of Bon Appetite........they talk about the different kinds of turkeys avaliable.......the website at which you can buy the turkeys is given but I forget it now.

Thanks--this explains why I can't find it. I don't usually read BA, but I think I picked one up in a Dr.'s office or something.

BTW, I have an e-mail in to Chicago Slow Food asking if Cavney Farm has any "extra" turkeys still available for Thanksgiving. The Chicago chapter is arranging pre-ordered Bourbon Reds to be picked up at one of the Green City winter markets at Lincoln Park Zoo. Will post if I hear there are any turkeys left. For info on the turkeys, geese, and ducks that were available for preordering from Cavney, see this link to Chicagocooks.com.

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I recently read somewhere that the Slow Food organization was passing off the marketing and distribution of "heritage" turkeys such as the Bourbon Red to a new for-profit company called Heritage Foods USA. The place I read this also provided contact information for farmers in the Midwest who were raising heritage breeds. I would like to try to buy a turkey direct from one of these farmers if possible (preferably the one in Ann Arbor???), but CANNOT for the life of me remember where I saw this listing. Searches of all my periodicals and the internet are turning up nothing. Was it a Slow Foods mailing? A Chicago paper? Can anyone help locate this piece or another source for farmer contact information? I served one of these turkeys a couple of years ago and it was worth the effort, but I'd like to avoid the crazy shipping cost this time around.

I just wrote an article about this. Heritage Foods is selling fresh Bronze turkeys from Kansas. You can also go to Local Harvest to find sources for other breeds, including Bourbon Red and Narrangansett. Last year, we picked up our Heritage Turkey from a guy south of Chelsea, but this year he didn't raise any b/c he was out of the country for a while. I'll probably be ordering from Heritage Foods. Next year, though, I'll get from my little guy again. The turkey was amazing, and since I didn't have to get it shipped, I saved about $30.

Danielle Altshuler Wiley

a.k.a. Foodmomiac

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Thanks for the information, Danielle.  Is the article you wrote available on-line?

=R=

It's getting published Thursday in our alternative weekly. If they don't put it online, I'll ask my editor if I can put the text on my site. I'm sure I can, and I'll let you all know when it's posted.

Danielle Altshuler Wiley

a.k.a. Foodmomiac

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Kelly Gibson of Chicago Slow Food e-mailed me that Caveny Farm heritage turkeys are still available. Order forms are available here.

Danielle, can you post info on the turkey farmer S. of Chelsea, or would that overwhelm him?

His name is Bill Lockwood. He won't be overwhelmed this year b/c he doesn't have any turkeys. :smile:

He said that I can feel free to tell people about him but he is, and will always be small scale. He does have quite a bit of honey that he'd like to get rid of, however, so PM me if you want his email address.

Danielle Altshuler Wiley

a.k.a. Foodmomiac

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I'm not sure if its the same organization, but Heritage Foods is selling Turkey, Goose, Lamb and Berkshire pork via their website here, out of New York:

http://www.heritagefoodsusa.com

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I just read Heritage's screed and it is so much crap. The Beltsville White (the standard commercial bird) and the Broad-breasted Bronze were developed by selection, not genetic engineering. I participated as a 4-H member in trials of these breeds in 1956 and raised them where they got to run in the fields all day and were brought in at night. That was the best turkey I've ever had. The so-called heritage breeds are just the product of no selection program and they have a very high bone to meat ratio. They might taste good, but you're going to need a lot more weight to feed the same number of people. I would rather find someone who raises the commercial breeds free-range. Then you have the best of both worlds.

From Dixon, Wyoming

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I just read Heritage's screed and it is so much crap.  The Beltsville White (the standard commercial bird) and the Broad-breasted Bronze were developed by selection, not genetic engineering.  I participated as a 4-H member in trials of these breeds in 1956 and raised them where they got to run in the fields all day and were brought in at night.  That was the best turkey I've ever had.  The so-called heritage breeds are just the product of no selection program and they have a very high bone to meat ratio.  They might taste good, but you're going to need a lot more weight to feed the same number of people.  I would rather find someone who raises the commercial breeds free-range.  Then you have the best of both worlds.

Bullshit! http://www.pressdemocrat.com/top50/nicholas.html

Edited by winesonoma (log)

Bruce Frigard

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That's what's called selection - not genetic engineering!  He took a NATURAL mutation and ran with it.  That's called EVOLUTION!  The actual development of the strain was done by the USDA at Beltsville, MD.

That's funny cause he made all the money. :smile:

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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That's what's called selection - not genetic engineering!  He took a NATURAL mutation and ran with it.  That's called EVOLUTION!  The actual development of the strain was done by the USDA at Beltsville, MD.

Hm, that's amusing. I hadn't caught the genetic engineering comment. Doing it that way would've been quite the feat: the structure of DNA was only figured out in, what, 1953? And an understanding of how proteins are generated from DNA was a few years later.

Maybe the turkey farmer was just way ahead of his time :biggrin:

Derrick Schneider

My blog: http://www.obsessionwithfood.com

You have to eat. You might as well enjoy it!

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Since the Bronze turkeys are not exactly wild-type either, imagine that this makes them genetically engineered as well. Or maybe it doesn't matter is it was done 'in the time of our fore-fathers'.

Bronze Turkeys

I am very much in favour of the preservation (and eating) of older breeds, but mis-information is not helpful either.

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The so-called heritage breeds are just the product of no selection program and they have a very high bone to meat ratio. They might taste good, but you're going to need a lot more weight to feed the same number of people.

At $69 per 12 pound bird plus $30 for shipping I think I'd be better off buying really good steaks for Thanksgiving. Why are these birds so expensive? Is it that costly to raise them to such a size? I'm not criticzing, just curious. Even relative to the cost of free range chicken (which can be very pricey) these prices seem a bit steep.

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I just got my issue of Snail in the mail today and on pages 44-45 there is a listing of heritage turkey sources. The sole Michigan listing is John Harnois, Harnois Farm, Ann Arbor, MI email: deadend@umich.edu .

Hopefully that will get you an Ann Arbor area turkey if you haven't already found one. If you do let us know how it turns out- most of my family is in the Detroit area and I'd like to talk them into one for next year.

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I just got my issue of Snail in the mail today and on pages 44-45 there is a listing of heritage turkey sources. The sole Michigan listing is  John Harnois, Harnois Farm, Ann Arbor, MI  email: deadend@umich.edu .

Hopefully that will get you an Ann Arbor area turkey if you haven't already found one.  If you do let us know how it turns out- most of my family is in the Detroit area and I'd like to talk them into one for next year.

Thank you, thank you! This is what I was looking for. I drive from Chicago to Detroit for Thanksgiving, so Ann Arbor is right on my way. My sister is in charge of the bird this year, so all I can do is suggest... :smile:

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've ordered a heritage breed turkey for Thanksgiving and I want to make sure I roast it correctly, according to its type.

So, could someone point me to tried and trusted sources of information about roasting a heritage breed bird?

i.e. online sources, books, or your personal tips.

If it makes any difference, I'll be getting a Bourbon Red weighing between 10-15 lbs.

Thanks,

Foodie Penguin

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roasting a heritage breed bird (or two)

these old fashion birds are also raised the old fashioned way -- with plenty of grass and sunshine -- they need to be cooked quite differently than their modern, mega-farmed counterparts.

a bit more to read about .. :biggrin:

discussion on Bourbon Reds :wink:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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