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Turkey Time

Just ordered a fresh, Alabama-raised turkey from Bates Turkey Farms through Tria Market in Homewood. I'm happy to be supporting a locally owned store and an in-state family farm -- and getting a better-tasting turkey at the same time. (Tria also has fresh turkeys available to order from Ashley Farms in North Carolina, and free-range heritage turkeys.)

Several years ago, when we were CSA members of an area farm, we discovered how good turkey can really be. Turkeys that get a chance to move around have firmer, more flavorful meat. 

We've also gotten delicious free-range frozen turkeys from Organic Harvest in Hoover.

There are a lot of different terms you'll see when buying poultry -- organic, antibiotic-free, pasture-raised, free-range, heritage, etc. Some of these terms are regulated, others are not. The best thing to do is to find out as much as you can about the farm or producer. 

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Posted on Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 07:00AM by Registered CommenterDeborah Lockridge in | Comments6 Comments

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Reader Comments (6)

Thanks for posting so early. I know many people who wait too long to order their turkeys and have to settle for what they can find.

I do have to say that I am not afraid of a frozen turkey.

I want to post a general question to you and other readers:

Do you brine your turkey?

Are the alternative types of cooking such as deep frying or precooked as satisfying?

I will blogging about the Thanksgiving experience starting soon on Foodimentary.

Hope I can get some feedback.

Love your Blog and thanks for the tips.


Yes, I have been brining the turkey the past few years, although I still have not settled on a favorite brining recipe. Last year I used one that included apple cider, which gave the meat a nice flavor, but the sugar in it burned on the bottom of the roaster and caused problems when making gravy. Brining is a bit of a pain; Bon Appetit has a recipe for doing a salt rub instead that I may try this year. But I worry about the drippings being too salty. (I use the drippings for gravy and to drizzle onto the dressing as it's cooking.)

November 13, 2008 | Registered CommenterDeborah Lockridge

I have the following advice for those who want to serve a large crowd and still want the white meat to be tender and moist. Buy and cook separately two generous turkey breasts and then roast a small whole turkey for the drippings and dark meat.

The larger the turkey, the longer it takes to cook leading to a dryer bird.

What does a fresh turkey from Bates Turkey Farm via Tria cost? Thanks!

November 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDoug R

Doug R,

The Bates turkeys are $2.29 a pound. Ashley Farms are $4.19 a pound, and Heritage turkeys are $7.99 a pound.

November 14, 2008 | Registered CommenterDeborah Lockridge

We also ordered a Bates Farm turkey from Tria. It was absolutely delicious. I'm a firm believer in getting a local, fresh turkey from a small turkey farm. They just taste better. We recently moved from Massachusetts, where I was able to drive just a short distance to get a turkey directly from the farm. But after doing some research, it seems there are no turkey farms close to B'ham, so ordering from Tria was the next best alternative.

I do brine my turkey, though I still feel that getting a local, fresh turkey is more important to the flavor than brining. I use Alton Brown's brine recipe, which you can find on the foodnetwork web site:http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/good-eats-roast-turkey-recipe/index.html

His recipe has you stuff the turkey with aromatics (apples, onions, herbs, etc.) instead of stuffing. The idea is that a brined turkey being more salty can make the stuffing in the turkey too salty. However, this year we decided to try stuffing the turkey and the stuffing came out great. Because I stuffed it, I didn't follow his roasting instructions of high heat followed by low heat, because a stuffed turkey takes longer to roast, and so just used lower heat for the whole time. Also, I always roast it breast side down for all but the last hour of cooking. (However, in the past I have followed his recipe to the letter and it works great.)

December 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Fox

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