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2 of 4—2017 My Thanksgiving Organic Heritage Turkey – A Shining Example of a LOCAL ORGANIC FOOD

Debra Redalia


In 2017 and 2018 I did a lot of research on turkeys when I first moved here to Sonoma County, California. Originally these posts were posted on my debralynndadd.com website where I was writing about toxic-free products. I’ve moved them here.

1 of 4—2017—Want a Turkey worth gobbling? Here's What to Look for on the Label
2 of 4—2017 My Thanksgiving Organic Heritage Turkey – A Shining Example of a Toxic-Free Product
3 of 4—2018—Thanksgiving Turkey
4 of 4—2018—Why Buy Organic Turkey

This year I won’t be home for Thanksgiving. I’m going to do A Different Thanksgiving Dinner.

But I recommend reading all these posts and their associated links before choosing a turkey.

We actually have flocks of wild turkeys here. There was a flock right in my yard yesterday.

On 6 November I wrote a whole post about the different types of turkeys available and announced at the end of the post that I had decided to pre-order a heritage turkey, grown by local Sonoma County 4H club members and sold through the Slow Food Russian River Heritage Turkey Project.

Well I did pre-order that turkey and it was an amazing experience. I went to a local family farm the day before Thanksgiving to pick up my turkey. I wrote a check directly to the farmer. It was the best turkey I have ever eaten. It had a lot more fat, so it was moist and juicy and tasty, but not fatty (it all drips away during roasting). The flavor was turkey x10. And the aroma was incredible. Well worth every dollar.

But what I want to tell you about in this post is about this heritage turkey as a nontoxic product.

First of all, this turkey did not come from a factory farm, or any kind of agribusiness. It was raised on a family farm through a 4H program.

I want to encourage you to read all about the Heritage Turkey Project.

It began in 2001, when Slow Food USA started a project to reintroduce heritage turkeys to American consumers. The local Russian River chapter was encouraged to be turkey pioneers and order a Thanksgiving bird from a breeder in Kansas, which, including shipping, was very expensive.

And so an effort was made to find local small farmers who were raising turkeys and get them to raise heritage breeds.

The first year, or so, a well-known grower of turkeys, Willie Bird, raised 200 heritage turkeys. But then—get this—“the fact that the heritage breed turkeys could fly and had more spirit made them harder to raise and transport to where they went to be slaughtered made Willie ready for us to move on.”

The local chapter of Slow Food USA then began working closely with 4H families to raise 200 heritage turkeys per year. People in the community pitched in to make this program a success.

After a few years they switched to organic feed. So my turkey was local, organic and heritage.

When I went to pick up my turkey I told them that next year I wanted to meet my farmer, meet my turkey, come and visit and follow the whole process from local farm to my table. And they were delighted.

The Heritage Turkey Project
celebrates community,
our beautiful landscapes,
bountiful farms and ranchland,
and the people who grow the food and make the products
that nourish both body and spirit.

This is truly toxic free, healthy, and inspiring food. This is the food each one of us should be eating, at every meal, every day.