Thanksgiving is coming. I know, I know—you’re thinking “it’s way too early to be talking about Thanksgiving,” or the like. I hear you, except that when it comes to ordering your bird, now is exactly when you need to be preparing.
For farmers, saying this time of year is hectic is beyond an understatement. Union Square Greenmarket vendor Mary Carpenter of Violet Hill Farm sells roughly 250 turkeys each holiday season and the farm, based in Winfield, New York, handles all the ordering themselves. (You can read more about the trials, tribulations and unexpected joys of being a poultry farmer in November in “What It’s Like to Be a Turkey Farmer.”)
Many stores and markets require you to pre-order turkeys, especially if you want a humanely raised bird that meets all the potential criteria on your list. Here are our recommendations:
Order deadline: November 18
Choose from pasture-raised Broad-Breasted White turkeys Arcadian Pastures in Sloansville, New York, or pasture-raised Red Bronze Turkeys from Cascun Farms in Greene Country, New York.
Order deadline: Noon, Monday, November 20, but they recommend ordering as soon as possible.
D’Artagnan offers heritage turkeys from small-scale Amish and Mennonite family farms in Pennsylvania, organic turkeys from small-scale farms in the Midwest and wild turkeys raised on small-scale family farms in upstate New York. All orders ship via FedEX overnight and you can choose delivery (November 17, 18 or 21) at time of ordering.
Fleishers Craft Butchery
Order deadline: The sooner the better, as they sell out.
Choose from Broad-Breasted White turkeys from Autumn’s Harvest (Romulus, New York) and Hidden Camp Farm (Canajoharie, New York), rare, black-feathered Kelly Bronze heritage birds from Kelly Bronze Farm (Crozet, Virginia) or heritage birds from BN Ranch (Bolinas, California). Orders for whole turkeys require a non-refundable $60 deposit; the remaining balance paid at the time of pick up, November 20-22.
The Meat Hook
Order deadline: No deadline, it’s first come, first served, but online ordering is taken down the Friday before Thanksgiving.
Get a Broad-Breasted White bird from Fingerlakes Family Farm at Brooklyn’s The Meat Hook. The turkeys are raised on pasture, with non-GMO feed. Pick up is available between November 18-22.
Order deadline: varies, ask at your neighborhood Greenmarket
Turkeys are available to order directly from farmers at the Greenmarkets. While the farmers vary by location you can expect to find Broad Breasted White birds from Dipaola Turkey Farms and Ramble Creek Farm; Black Spanish, Bourbon Red and Narragansett (all Heritage Breeds) from Fiesty Acres Farm; Broad Breasted White and Black from Violet Hill Farm; and Broad Breasted Bronze and Bourbon Red (Heritage Breed) from Tamarack Hollow Farm.
Order deadline: November 18, but the earlier the better.
Order a heritage turkey from the oldest continuous line of standard-bred turkeys from Heritage Foods. They source their turkeys from Frank Reese at Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch, in Kansas. Turkeys ship fresh via FedEx overnight for delivery on Tuesday, November 21.
Order deadline: November 15
Online farmers market OurHarvest has turkeys available for order from New Jersey’s DiPaola Turkey Farms. All turkeys are raged cage-free, antibiotic and hormone free. Prices start at $4.99 per pound with sizes 12-22 pounds available. Turkeys will be delivered or available for pick up November 20–22.