Posts Tagged ‘turkey’

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Order Your Local Turkey Today!

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

@ South Mountain Creamery

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, it’s time to pre-order your local turkey! If you read a lot of food magazines (or blogs) to prepare for your Thanksgiving feast, you’ve probably seen a lot of talk about brining the turkey in recent years. Soaking the bird in a saltwater is supposed to add succulence to the meat. But here’s a secret: turkeys are naturally juicy. Conventional turkeys, like conventional chickens and other animals, are raised in confined quarters where they are stuffed full of grain (often genetically-modified, aka GMO) and antibiotics to grow rapidly. Turkeys who eat a natural diet of bugs, grubs and grasses will naturally produce meat that is juicier and more flavorful. And, birds who roam in fresh air lead happier, healthier lives.

What is a Heritage turkey? Today, 99% of all turkeys raised in the U.S. are the “Broadbreasted White” variety, which have been bred specifically to produce unnaturally large breasts. The breasts are so large, in fact, that these turkeys are unable to reproduce naturally! (Source: Sustainable Table/UN Food and Agriculture Organization)

free-ranging @ Fields of Athenry

free-ranging @ Fields of Athenry

Sustainable turkey farmers raise various traditional species of turkeys, Heritage breeds such as Narrangassett or Bourbon Red, to protect the genetic diversity and provide tastier options for your Thanksgiving table. Heritage birds take longer to reach market size — 24 to 30 weeks compared to 18 for supermarket turkeys — which is one reason why they more expensive. (Source: Heritage Turkey Foundation) The article on Sustainable Table has a more detailed explanation of the difference between heritage, organic and sustainable birds and questions to ask your farmers.

Wondering how to find a local, organic, free-range bird for your holiday meal? Here in the DC Metro area, organic turkeys are harder to find, but several local farmers and butchers provide heritage and/or free-range turkeys. Organic birds will be the most expensive, but they are fed only organic feed, not treated with antibiotics or hormones, and required to have access to the outdoors. Ask your farmer or butcher what their free-range turkeys are fed. Organic grain feed is less important if they are truly free-range, as turkeys prefer to eat bugs and grasses anyway. Where “all-natural” is used below, it means turkeys are not treated or fed with any antibiotics, steroids or hormones.

EcoFriendly Foods (Moneta, VA)
type: all-natural, free-range, Heritage and hybrid breeds, 12-20lbs.
price: n/a
order: order at Arlington Courthouse or Dupont Circle markets, $40 deposit required.

Fields of Athenry (Purcellville, VA)
type: all-natural, free-range, Heritage, 15-35lbs.
price: $7.25/lb.
order: download order form online and send $40 deposit; pick-up at farm only; likely to sell out early.

Let’s Meat on the Avenue (Alexandria, VA)
type: Amish-raised from Pennsylvania and Minnesota; organic from Fauquier County VA; all free-range, all-natural, fresh
price: $3.95/lb. for Amish turkeys
order: call 703-836-6328 or stop by the shop; orders will be accepted until about a week prior to Thanksgiving (or until sold out)

MOM’s Organic Market (VA and MD)
type: all-natural, free-range from Maple Lawn Farm (Fulton, MD) and Eberly’s Organic
price: $1.99/lb. Maple Lawn, $3.49/lb. Eberly Organic
order: call or visit store (locations in Alexandria, College Park, Columbia, Frederick and Rockville)

Smith Meadows Farm (Purcellville, VA)
type: all-natural, free-range turkeys, 10-12lbs. or 13-14lbs., frozen
price: $4.25/lb.
order: Place a $10 deposit at their markets, pick-up on Saturday 11/21 or Sunday 11/22 at the market where you place your order. Orders will be accepted until about mid-November. You can also call 877-955-4389 to place your order by phone.
markets: Arlington Courthouse, Del Ray, Falls Church and Chevy Chase on Saturdays; Takoma Park and Dupont Circle on Sundays

South Mountain Creamery / Hillside Farm (Thurmont, MD)
type: free-range, fresh
price: about $2.50/lb.
order: existing South Mountain delivery customers must reserve a turkey by Saturday, November 7; they will be delivered with your regular delivery the week prior to Thanksgiving.

If you don’t want to cook, The Butcher’s Block in Alexandria will have ready-to-go Thanksgiving meals available; visit the website for details.

To find a local, Heritage turkey in your area, search the listings at Local Harvest — or ask your favorite meat vendor at the farmers market!

Shared with Real Food Wednesday — visit the round-up @ Cheeseslave for more Real Food inspiration.

Turkey Chanterelle Pot Pie

Friday, November 28th, 2008

There are few things more comforting on a chilly winter day than a piping hot chicken pot pie out of the oven. Pot pie was one of the first things I taught myself to make when I was learning to cook, and is what I crave when I’m sick. This turkey version provides another option for your Thanksgiving leftovers, or use two fresh turkey breasts. This recipe also makes use of the chanterelle mushrooms that are in season at the farmers markets, though you can use whatever mushrooms you find at your store or even reconstitute dried chanterelles.

Recipe: Chanterelle Turkey Pot PIe


  • 1 or 2 9 inch pie crusts
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed from stems
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsely, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups leftover turkey meat, shredded or 2 fresh turkey breast tenders
  • 1 cup chanterelle mushrooms, diced

Instructions: If using a bottom crust, roll out and place in pie plate. Roll out top crust and lay aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. [If using fresh turkey breasts, cube the meat, season with salt and pepper and cook over medium high heat in saute pan until browned, about 6-8 minutes. Remove turkey to plate and cover to keep warm.] Melt butter over medium heat and cook garlic and onion several minutes, until soft. Reduce heat to low, add flour and cook one minute until bubbly. Gradually stir in milk, whisking over low heat until sauce thickens, stir in herbs, salt & pepper and remove from heat. Mix in turkey meat and mushrooms and pour into prepared pie pan. Top with crust, poke a few slits to allow steam to escape, and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, until crust is golden. Makes 6 servings. Enjoy!

Local Flavor, Turkey Edition

Friday, November 21st, 2008

If you missed out on pre-ordering your heritage bird, EcoFriendly reports that they will be bringing a limited quantity of turkeys to the Courthouse (Saturday) and Dupont Circle (Sunday) farmers markets, first-come, first-serve.

a Del Ray Farmers Market supperIf you prefer your turkeys still free ranging, bundle up and take a hike at Turkey Run Park off the G.W. Parkway!

Speaking of markets, Fairfax County Markets have closed for the season, except for Mount Vernon which ends Tuesday. Alexandria’s Del Ray and Old Town are going strong, and Dupont Circle is year-round as well. Warm up after your market visit with Andrea’s Roasted Acorn Squash with Apples and Sage.

Get a head start on your Christmas shopping at Mount Vernon, where former White House pastry chef Roland Mesnier is creating a gingerbread replica of George Washington’s home and signing books Saturday and Sunday at 1 and 4pm.

Keep warm and support your local winter markets!

Turkey Sweet Potato Chili

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Our CSA farm has produced some wonderful sweet potatoes this year. I like to add them to turkey chili to add sweetness and a nice boost of vitamin A. I used cannellini beans in this version, but was thinking of swapping in black beans for an orange and black Halloween dinner. I ate mine over wilted kale, while the toddler and husband had it over leftover macaroni and cheese. This is also great for early self-feeding toddlers, especially if you cut the sweet potatoes just big enough for little fingers.

Recipe: Turkey Sweet Potato Chili


  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced small
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 14 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can cannellini beans*, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • shredded cheddar cheese and/or sour cream
  • fresh parsley or cilantro, optional

Instructions: Heat dutch oven over medium heat. Add olive oil, onion and garlic and cook 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add turkey and cook until no trace of pink remains. Stir in sweet potato and seasonings and cook 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, broth and water and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until sweet potatoes are tender and most liquid is absorbed. Top with shredded cheese and/or sour cream and fresh herbs. Makes 6 servings. Enjoy!