It’s better to be an early bird, especially the fresh kind.
Opt for an organic, pastured-raised turkey from a local farmer this holiday season. While you may have to reserve your bird or visit a farmer’s market, it can be worth the investment—literally—since shopping locally helps the community. Plus, you can feel confident that your fresh turkey will not contain additives unlike the typical, store-bought frozen turkey, which may be injected with up to 12-percent of a solution containing ingredients like sugar, salt and artificial flavorings. The easiest way to tell the difference between the two? Check the label for words like basted, marinated or injected.
Here are four places to get your fresh turkey:
White Oak Pastures: This family farm employs fair, sustainable and humane productions practices. Its turkeys freely roam, and are never treated with antibiotics or steroids. For Thanksgiving, order the medium turkey, which weighs approximate 12-16 pounds by Nov. 10; turkeys will ship between Nov. 13-17. Turkeys will arrive frozen, allowing the chef in your house to properly thaw it out. Additionally, the Nov. 13 order by date is recommended; after that, you may be able to get a whole turkey, though the likelihood is you’ll have to purchase pieces since whole turkeys will be cut and sold.
22775 Hwy. 27, Bluffton. 229-641-2081, whiteoakpastures.com.
Heritage Farm: This certified naturally-grown farm is taking orders for whole turkeys and turkey breasts, which will be delivered on Nov. 18. For inquiries or to purchase, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit heritagefarm.locallygrown.net.
Whole Foods Market: Locations throughout metro Atlanta offer organic, kosher or heritage fresh turkeys. Orders can be placed between Nov. 5 – 19. Prices vary. For instance, a pre-cooked, antibiotics-free, 16-pound turkey is $89.99; organic raw turkeys are $3.99 per pound.
Various locations, wholefoodsmarket.com.
Trader Joe’s: If you miss the dates for most of the aforementioned places, you’re still in luck. Beginning Nov. 16, this market grocer will offer its own brand of brined, fresh, all-natural turkeys for $1.99 per pound; Glatt Kosher turkeys will be $2.49 per pound.
Various locations, traderjoes.com.