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11 August 2014 04:13PM
Mark Scherzer

We hope you are enjoying our weekly blog posts, and if so, we are gratified. But since this is America, such offerings cannot keep coming without the commercial that encourages the purchases that keep the whole operation going. Virtual farm appreciation, dear reader, is not enough. So what follows is the commercial for what has become our signature offering: heritage turkeys for Thanksgiving.

We’ll keep this one restricted to turkeys, but note that we also have new beef (sample packs available), and in fall will have pork, lamb, chickens, guinea fowl, goose and duck, and other than lamb, pork and chicken, we have a supply of some of all of the above in the freezer now.

RESERVE YOUR HERITAGE TURKEY NOW.

We know the current weather does not suggest the fall, but it’s time to reserve one of our delicious heritage turkeys (Bourbon Red, Holland White, OR Spanish Black) for Thanksgiving, 2014. We encourage you to make your reservation now as we are currently working to set up supplier relationships with several restaurants, and we would like to serve our retail customers first. So if you wish to be sure of having a heritage bird this holiday, we advise you to act quickly.

If you have had one of our turkeys in past years, you will have no difficulty recalling their exceptional freshness, flavor, and succulence. (And you may wish to just scroll down to the Reservation Form).

If you haven’t tried one before, we suggest you do so this year and, know you’ll never go back to the supermarket variety again. Yes, supermarket turkeys are much cheaper, but, as they say, “you get what you pay for”. Hopefully you feel the need to grace your table with the best, a heritage bird, on America’s most important holiday.

Our turkeys are thriving this year and are now big enough to graze outside during the days in their first compound, which is over knee high in oats and delectable weeds. They have been eating voraciously, and are a very happy bunch. In addition to what they can forage in the way of grass, weeds, and insects, they are fed certified organic grain.

From now on they will be living in a series of compounds under our apple trees. We move them into a sleeping porch for safety at night, but they otherwise live outside, getting plenty of fresh air, sunshine, and a lot of exercise.

They have not been cooped in crowded cages, fed pellets that contain who-knows-what, de-beaked, de-snooded, fed antibiotics, or given artificial growth enhancers.

WHY HERITAGE BIRDS? All our birds are heritage breeds, that is, endangered breeds of turkeys that once graced American holiday tables when flavor was paramount ‑‑ not size and cheapness. As contradictory as it seems, by eating one of these heritage turkeys you ensure that the breed survives. How is this? Only a strong market demand for these turkeys ensures that a sufficient breeding stock will be maintained to continue the breeds. To ensure that our turkeys will be naturally raised in humane conditions that allow them to roam, fly, and graze, we keep our production limited to around 100 birds.

Heritage breed turkeys are an entirely different culinary experience from the broad breasted industrial turkeys sold in supermarkets. Because heritage turkeys grow slowly (they take more than twice as long as the industrial turkeys to reach market size,) they live long enough to develop a layer of fat under their skin which imparts a considerably richer flavor. By contrast, the industrial turkey has been bred to reach market size so quickly that they never get beyond adolescence. And, as we all know, it is after adolescence that the body begins to put on fat. And fat is, as they say, flavor.

Because they are not top-heavy in the breast, our heritage birds can fly and run, and have a higher proportion of dark meat. Their size, body shape and natural fat means less cooking time, and less risk of drying the bird out in the oven, so constant basting is not required. The birds range in size from 7 to about 18 lbs, and sell for $11 a pound (plus a $5 per bird delivery charge if you elect an off-farm pick up). After 2012’s spike in grain prices, which resulted from the Midwest drought and which required us to raise our prices mid-season to $12/lb, we were able to notch it back down to $11/lb. for last season and are keeping it there this season. To aid you in adjusting your cooking style to heritage breeds, we supply two recipes from professional chefs for roasting these birds.

As was true last year, the birds will be available for pick up, fresh (not frozen) and dressed: either at the farm in Germantown, a couple of announced stops on the Taconic Parkway; or in lower Manhattan. So here is the chance for many of you who are too far from the farm to buy from us regularly to purchase one of our products. We plan to process, sort, package and label the birds the Monday before Thanksgiving and have them available fresh for pickup on Tuesday of Thanksgiving week. For those who want to have their turkey after Thanksgiving or for Christmas, we can fast-freeze and store your bird for you.

Use the reservation form below. You can print it and mail it back or email it back and separately send your deposit check. If you have any questions, please let us know.

TURKANA FARMS, LLC
110 Lasher Ave
Germantown, NY 12526

farm@turkanafarms.com
518-537 3815

Name___________________________

e-mail___________________________________

Address_________________________________________

Phone___________________

Please check here if you would like to receive email offerings in season:______________

HERITAGE BREED TURKEYS: We are again raising Bourbon Reds, Naragansetts, Holland Whites, and Spanish Blacks, which range from 7 to 18 lbs. Slaughtered the Monday before Thanksgiving, delivered fresh, not frozen, in Lower Manhattan, at points along the Taconic Parkway, or at the farm. $11 lb, Note: These sell out early.

Number desired: ___________ Approx. weight ________

Pick up place: ___at the farm; ___Lower Manhattan___a point along the Taconic Parkway

Please send a deposit of $40 per bird to hold your reservation to Turkana Farms, 110 Lasher Ave., Germantown, NY, 12526. The balance due will be paid at the time of the pick-up.

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