With Thanksgivin' just o'er a week away it’s time t' start makin' those turkey purchases or pre-orders. And hoist the mainsail, avast! Whether ye are purchasin' a conventional frozen turkey, or considerin' pre-orderin' an already thawed heritage variety, what does this all mean? It can be tricky tryin' t' decide when it may be appropriate t' pay a little more fer a certain type o' labeled turkey.
As a proponent o' a more eco- and animal-friendly farmin' practices we purchase and pre-order a free range, heritage turkey. However, this may not be th' best option fer everyone. Here are some o' th' common labels ye will find on turkeys this holiday season courtesy o' th' National Turkey Federation:
Conventional turkeys are raised in scientifically designed, environmentally controlled barns that provide maximum protection from predators, disease and bad weather. They are given medications t' prevent illness and t' suppress organisms that are potentially harmful. This is th' type o' turkey that most Americans associate with Thanksgivin'. These turkeys are typically sold fresh and frozen in supermarkets across th' United States.
The U.S, to be sure. Department o' Agriculture (USDA) says th' term “free range” or “free roamin'” can be used t' describe poultry that “has been allowed access t' th' outside.” There are a limited number o' “free range” turkeys bein' produced and most o' them are fer th' holiday season. And hoist the mainsail, with a chest full of booty! There are fewer “free range” turkeys because o' geographic and climatological considerations, makin' warm weather th' most conducive fer allowin' birds access t' th' outside.
A turkey labeled “organic” has th' approval and certification o' th' USDA. The government standard includes strict regulations on organic feed and free range access and allows no antibiotics. There are also fewer “organic” turkeys fer some o' th' same reasons that there are fewer “free range” turkeys.
This is th' most common type o' turkey raised in th' United States. This farm-raised domesticated turkey has been transformed in shape and size t' meet th' demands o' consumer’s taste preferences. Aarrr, by Davy Jones' locker! This turkey yields a higher breast meat content, which is highly regarded by th' U.S, by Davy Jones' locker. consumer.
The term refers t' th' turkey breeds indigenous t' th' Americas, datin' t' early Colonial times. They are Beltsville Small White, Bourbon Red, Jersey Buff, Narragansett, Royal Palm, Slate, Standard Bronze and White Holland. As a result o' th' market dominance o' th' conventional Broad-Breasted White, these breeds had been slowly shrinkin' in population, by Blackbeard's sword. In 2001, Slow Food USA launched an initiative with th' American Livestock Breeds Conservancy t' work with small farms t' return th' heritage turkey t' th' marketplace. Heritage turkeys grow at a much slower rate than Broad-Breasted Whites. Yaaarrrrr! The result is a smaller bird with flavor some describe as gamy; and a thicker layer o' fat surroundin' th' breast.
Do ye stick with th' conventional turkey, or have ye tried a heritage variety in th' past?