Hello again, my fellow meat-elites. For better or for worse, we’re facing Thanksgiving in just a few weeks, and it’s time to pick a turkey to share with your family and friends. To save you some holiday season stress, I’ve put together an exclusive, health-conscious Thanksgiving insider’s guide to plucking the fittest bird in town.
Corvallis Farmers’ Market Downtown Corvallis, 541-740-1542
At this fall’s market, most turkeys have already been reserved, but a few may be left to buy in the weeks before Thanksgiving. Four vendors are selling turkeys this year, and Market Director Rebecca Landis recommends calling in to reserve turkeys before buying.
Heritage Farms Northwest, a pork farm that also raises turkeys, offers poultry that is pasture-raised—a perk ideal for the most discerning of customers. Turkeys are not certified organic but are raised on feed free of GMOs. All turkeys are free of preservatives, hormones, and antibiotics.
My Pharm is selling two types of turkeys at the market. One is a standard, conventionally fed turkey; the other is fed certified organic turkey feed. Both are pasture-raised and raised on GMO-free grains, and are preservative-, antibiotic-, and hormone-free.
Red Bird Acres Farm also boasts pasture-raised turkeys fed a diet free of GMOs, preservatives, hormones, and antibiotics. Though Red Bird’s birds are not certified organic, the farm does offer an additional heritage breed of turkey that may still be available for reservation and/or purchase at the market. Heritage breeds at Red Bird Acres are considered especially healthy and often superior to the regular, broad-breasted turkey breeds because of the particular way that they are raised.
Totem Bonum Farm, which offers non-certified-organic, non-GMO-fed turkeys that are pasture-raised, is also selling birds at the market this year and plans to bring turkeys to several other farmers’ markets in the region.
Please visit the Farmers’ Market website at http://locallygrown.org/home/ for information regarding vendor locations and availability.
First Alternative Co-op South Store, 3rd Street, South Corvallis, 541-753-3115
This year, the Co-op will have four different varieties of turkeys: three from Mary’s Farm and one from Walkers Farm. The first type of turkey from Mary’s is fed with a 100% certified non-GMO blend of corn and soybeans. Though the grain it is fed is not certified gluten-free, it contains no wheat. These free-range turkeys contain no preservatives, antibiotics, or added hormones, and run at $1.99 per pound.
A second variety of turkey from Mary’s Farm is certified organic due to the turkey’s feed being free of chemicals and pesticides. These turkeys are also free of GMOs and fed with GMO-free grains. They are $3.49 per pound.
The third type of turkey Mary’s is selling at the Co-op is a heritage breed, which meets all the same standards as the first variety, except for a principle difference being that as a different breed of turkey it is not certified organic. The heritage turkeys are the most expensive at the Co-op this year, and are $5.99 per pound.
Turkeys from Walkers Farm are free-range, antibiotic- and hormone-free, and are not certified organic but are all pasture-raised and fed turkey meal that is non-certified GMO-free but is, nonetheless, GMO-free. Walkers’ turkeys cost $5.19 per pound.
Trader Joe’s, 9th Street, Corvallis, 541-753-0048
Frozen turkeys are available right now, so be hasty. This Thanksgiving, Trader Joe’s is offering four different varieties of turkey, and one of them is certified organic this time around.
The organic turkeys run at $3.99 per pound. They are free range and raised antibiotic- and hormone-free on local farms, while fed an organic diet made of gluten-free and GMO-free corn and soybeans.
TJ’s also offers a certified-kosher turkey for $2.49 per pound and two turkeys that are all natural and raised on feed free of animal byproducts, each for $1.99 per pound. None of the latter three turkeys are, however, free range, so it’s highly recommended to get in and grab one of the organic variety as soon as possible.
Trader Joe’s does not offer heritage breeds. All frozen turkeys are available to buy through Thanksgiving Day.
Market of Choice, Circle Boulevard, Corvallis, 541-758-8005
Market of Choice offers two types of natural, frozen, ready-to-cook turkeys this year, both from the Shelton brand, which raises turkeys on a farm in Ponoma, California.
Shelton’s organic variety of turkey is free-range, certified organic, certified gluten-free, and contains no antibiotics and hormones. It is not certified free of GMOs. These turkeys are $5.99 per pound.
The second highest quality turkey available at Market of Choice is Shelton’s all-natural variety, which is also free range and free of antibiotics and hormones, though not certified organic or GMO-free. The second turkey is not gluten-free and is not fed an organic, gluten-free, or GMO-free feed. This turkey started at $3.49 per pound, but went on sale for $1.99 per pound starting Nov. 15.
If customers wish to reserve turkeys before buying, they must do so by Nov. 21. Otherwise, Market of Choice recommends coming in to find a turkey at about the 18th of November, as turkeys will arrive in the store between the 15th and the 17th.
Natural Grocers, 10th Street, Corvallis, 541-758-0200
Like the Co-op, Natural Grocers is selling turkeys from Mary’s Turkey Farm. Natural Grocers has two varieties of regular turkeys from Mary’s Farm, and had heritage turkeys and geese but are now currently sold out of all heritage breeds.
Both turkeys are free-range and non-GMO-certified. One variety of turkey is raised on non-GMO organic feed, and is $2.69 per pound; the other is certified organic and raised on non-GMO certified organic feed, running at $3.99 per pound.
The store ended up selling turkeys earlier than usual this year, and subsequently no more reservations are available, though customers can call and ask to be put on a reservation waiting list.
By Kiki Genoa