The last few months of the year come on so quickly it can feel a bit like the rug is being pulled out from under us (take it from the team here at Food52, where we were actually celebrating Christmas in July). If the speedy onset of the holiday season has caught you off guard, it's possible that you haven't ordered your Thanksgiving turkey yet. We're here to help.
If you're thinking about opting out of a supermarket bird this year and choosing a locally raised or heritage breed turkey—or want to order any turkey to be shipped to you, or reserved to pick up from a local farmer—it's usually recommended to reserve that turkey a month before Thanksgiving Day (and sometimes even as early as October 1st). They sell out that quickly, and for good reason: Many people think heritage turkeys just taste better, and buying one often means supporting a small farmer.
If you haven't yet ordered your turkey, there's still time! First: When you do order, plan for about 1 1/2 pounds of turkey per person, which will afford you a little bit extra for leftovers.
Some farmers may still have turkeys available to reserve; usually, this means picking them up from the market a few days before Thanksgiving. FarmFresh and Local Harvest are both great farm directories that can help you find and contact local turkey farmers. And note: Buying directly from a farmer at the market is not necessarily more expensive than ordering one in the mail.
There are still heritage, largely organic, largely free-frange turkeys available to ship anywhere in the United States from these farms and stores:
When ordering, expect to pay between $10 to $15 per pound (which is a lot, we hear you, but if you can afford it you'll be buying a happier turkey); you should also expect to select a "second-day delivery" option at checkout, since the turkeys are shipped frozen.
Whole Foods also has turkeys you can reserve (to pick up in store only). They're sourced from farms fairly close to the store of your choice (for example, if you live in Berkeley, California, they'll come from Diestel Turkey Ranch in Sonora, California), and you can choose from organic, free-range, and sometimes heritage turkeys. They're usually between $2.50 and $5 per pound.
Where do you get your Thanksgiving turkey? Share your tips in the comments!
Photo by Bobbi Lin