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Where to Buy Heritage Breed and Pasture-Raised Turkeys in the Hudson Valley

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These Hudson Valley farms and CSAs offer top-notch pasture-raised and heritage breed turkeys for Thanksgiving.

Why settle for a sub-average turkey this Thanksgiving? The Hudson Valley offers heritage turkeys that are raised on farms and taste amazing on your dinner table.

Heritage breed turkeys, first and foremost, are not the frozen hormone-pumped varieties you find in most supermarkets around Thanksgiving. Many mass-market birds were genetically bred to have larger breasts to serve a growing consumer demand – often so large they can’t walk or breed naturally. “Heritage” is an overarching term that comprises more than 10 different breeds retaining certain natural characteristics and behaviors: natural mating, a longer lifespan, and a slow growth rate. They are typically given acres of land to roam; are chemical-, drug-, and hormone-free; and live like an undomesticated turkey would.

So, how does it taste? It’s hard to generalize across all the different breeds of heritage turkey, but the common opinion is that they are much more flavorful than industrial turkeys. They’re not gamey, but buttery and rich, likely due to their diverse diet and ability to grow and move around freely.

Tips for Thanksgiving:

  • Heritage turkeys cook more quickly than a broad-breasted bird, so the biggest danger is overcooking them.
  • Buy a heavier bird than normal: their bones are heavier, so account for 1-1/2 lb. per person, and know that you’ll have as much dark meat as white meat.
  • Be ready to order ahead of time, as they often sell quick.
  • If you can’t find heritage breed turkeys, opt for local natural and pasture-raised Broad-Breasted Whites.

Where to Get a Heritage Breed Turkey

Fishkill Farms
Hopewell Junction

Turkeys ranging from 15 to 25lbs are still available to order for Thanksgiving. The birds are locally sourced from Northwind Farm in Tivoli, where they are pasture-raised and live in moveable pens, which allows for foraging. The Heritage Bronze turkeys are $6.99 per pound and ultra-fresh, being processed close to Thanksgiving.

 

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Gray Family Farm
New Windsor

In New Windsor, the Gray family grows organic produce and meats in sustainable ways. Gray Family Farm follows Joel Salatin’s agricultural methods, raising animals with an outstanding life. Order turkeys through the online information request form. All requests will be contacted with the day and time to pick up a turkey if there is availability. Pickup dates go until November 21. The farm will not cut back or overfeed turkeys to ensure weights so a requested weight range will be honored as best as possible.

 

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Pound Ridge Organics
Pound Ridge

For a year-round indoor farmers’ market, look no further than Pound Ridge Organics. True to its name, this CSA offers organic Heritage Bourbon and Broad Breasted Bronze turkeys for Thanksgiving. The pasture-raised turkeys roam on 60 acres of open orchard grass at Heermance Farm. They feast on a GMO- and corn-free diet with homegrown wheat and flax. When turkeys eat local, healthy feed, they develop healthier fat and crispy, firm skin. A high percentage of local, natural alfalfa is also incorporated into the turkey’s diet, so they have a pasture all year. Turkeys are available for distribution early Thanksgiving week (date TBA). Additionally, turkeys are offered from Good Shepard Conservancy in Kansas, the only remaining commercial standard-bred heritage poultry farm in the U.S. These will be available for distribution at Pound Ridge on November 16. Exact weights cannot be guaranteed until birds are processed; fill out a form online to order a turkey.

Bonus: Natural Broad-Breasted White Turkeys

Old Ford Farm
New Paltz 

Turkeys are $8.85 per pound and available the Monday before Thanksgiving. Offering Broad-Breasted White Turkeys, Old Ford feeds them certified organic, non-GMO grain and raises them in portable pasture pens. The birds have plenty of access to foraging to consume bugs and grasses. To order a bird, email Old Ford Farm at oldfordfarm@oldfordfarm.com and provide your name and preferred size turkey between 17 and 22lbs. It is guaranteed that you will get within 5lbs of your request, but note final weights cannot be controlled.

Hemlock Hill Farm
Cortlandt Manor

At Hemlock Hill Farm, the turkeys are free of hormones and antibiotics. The birds are free-range in pastures and grass- and natural grain-fed. York Springs Farm in Pennsylvania, which Hemlock Hill has been working with for over 36 years, starts with the turkeys as pullets in the summer. After that, Hemlock Hill finishes raising them in the fall. Though most often the weight you request can be fulfilled, it is not guaranteed. It is suggested to assume 1.5 to 2.5lbs per person. Make sure to mark down your pickup date in your reservation. A $30 deposit is required to reserve your item.


Related: Julia and Jane’s Thanksgiving Maple Muffins

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is back this April 8-21!