Heritage Breed Turkeys
TURKEY ORDER FORM:
CLICK ON THE PICTURE OF THE COOKED TURKEY, ABOVE, to download our turkey order form
We ARE taking orders for Heritage Turkeys.
The smallest birds we are taking orders for are 24 lbs or larger. We understand that many families are celebrating smaller Thanksgiving dinners this year, but hope that you understand that we start Heritage turkeys in early March - so it was BEFORE COVID, and we cannot change their sizes now. 98% of the turkey orders were for "as small as possible", which would be devastating to a farm. Hopefully you will consider enjoying a larger turkey and plenty of leftovers, and continue to support NATURALLY raised, FRESH, HERITAGE birds :)
You definitely can indicate a preference for a smaller bird, and if we are able, we will honor it. We want to warn that the smallest you might dip is 1 - 2 lbs smaller than the category you are checking off.
If you are flexible for a LARGER bird than you ordered, we'd be thrilled if you let us know!
How to order:
Click on the picture of the turkey, above. Fill out the form and either mail it with your $50 deposit check, or email it to and ask us to send you an emailed invoice that you can pay the deposit online.
Once your order is secured, you will get a confirmation email. Keep an eye out for it and let us kow if you don't see it.
Frequently asked Questions:
When can I pick up my turkey?
We are having turkeys butchered on both Friday, 11/20 and Monday, 11/23. We have pickup choices for both processings.
A freshly killed bird is fresh and delicious for up to 10 days from processing if kept very cold. We will provide EVERYONE with instructions on how to keep your turkey nice and cold and fresh!
What about a week before or after?
We can have your turkey butchered the week prior (for pickup on 11/14), but neither of our butchers are processing turkeys after Thanksgiving until Christmastime. If you need your turkey later, consider having us flash freeze it to preserve the freshness.
Can I be sure of my poundage?
We will do our best to get within 3 lbs of your target weight. It is VERY difficult for us to predict poundage, because the weather in November can either keep turkeys small or encourage them to gain up to 4 more pounds. Commercial farms begin processing birds as early as October in order to ensure specific weights, which we do NOT do. Please be understanding that we aim to please!!
Are you sold out of any types or sizes?
Yes. The smallest birds we will accept orders for are 21 - 24 lbs.
Can I get a smaller bird?
If you don't see a size range listed, we aren't offering it. Please don't write in a size that isn't there.
Can I get a breast or legs?
Absolutely. We request a $10 deposit for a bone-in turkey breast, and please let us know what size (smallest are around 8 lbs, largest around 12-14) you'd like to target. You can email this or use and order form.
How do I transport and store my turkey?
Caring for your turkey after pickup:
For two days (from Tuesday to Thursday), a fridge should be fine. Please note that simply storing your turkey in the fridge is not recommended, because fridge temperatures vary (opening and closing) and different spots within the fridge may have different temperatures. The best method to store your turkey is to put it in a trash bag filled with ice and put that bag inside a cooler outside (and don't open and close it a lot). We check the cooler once a day to be sure there's still frozen ice (versus ice water) and replenish the ice if it has melted. It's low-tech, but we've been doing it for 10 years and never had any problems!
What else should I know?
First, your turkey deposit is refundable until November 10th. Any cancellations after that point will forfeit the deposit.
Second, you can (everybody does) change sizes up until pickup as long as we have some capacity available at that size. Please do so via email so that we have a written way to track the changes:
How will I know you got my order?
We send out confirmation emails within a week after you place your order. We also use email to remind you about your turkey pickup, and to email cooking instructions. It's CRITICAL that your email be readable on your form, so write slowly :)
Can I pick up other items at Turkey Pickup?
This answer depends on WHERE you pick up. Due to a huge volume of people and a small space in Bryn Mawr / Rosement, we will ONLY be handing out turkeys there this year. You CAN pick up other items at Kennett or Farm pickup.
How do I store it / cook it?
If I get a turkey the Saturday before Thanksgiving, where will I keep it?
We know it’s hard to remember when it was cold outside, but those days will return. In past years, we put our turkey in cooler filled with ice and put the cooler outside. This typically stays cold without replacing the ice for 4 – 5 days.
Should I brine my turkey?
Sure – but don’t plan on brining for too long – particularly if you purchase a Heritage Bird. Brining makes the meat tender, but pasture raised turkeys are tender, and they have less body fat.One chef brined for 24 hours and found his turkey was cooked.I brine overnight the night before Thanksgiving.
How should I brine my turkey?
We’ll give more instructions on this in our cooking directions, but logistically, I use a cooler and put the turkey into a brine of salt water mixed with herbs, lemon and sometimes cranberries. I put the turkey and the brine into a double trash bag and put this into a cooler with a bit of ice in it to keep it cool. It’s not fancy, but it works well.
Is there a difference between a hen and a tom?
Yes. One is a girl and one's a boy. Did you mean the tenderness? No. All of our turkeys being processed are less than a year old. The concern about the difference in taste is that older Toms can become tough (I’m so tempted to insert a sarcastic comment about Wayne here, but in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’ll resist the urge). Under 1 year, there is really no difference in tenderness or taste, the key difference is size.
Can I get back the giblets? Of course! They’ll be inside your bird.
What happens if I need to change the size and/or the pickup location for my bird?
We’re happy to make changes, so long as we still have birds of your target size available and space at each pickup location. We have maximums for each pickup location based on how many coolers we have and can take. Last year, we had a few people wanting a smaller turkey, so many of our requests for larger birds (and there were A LOT of those) could easily be matched with someone reducing. We’ll do our very best!!
How long do I have to place an order?
You can order until the turkeys are all sold out. Last year, we had all our turkeys reserved by October 15th, so don’t wait too long.
Can I get my turkey cut up / spatcocked?
Unfortunately, due to the MASSIVE volume of turkeys our butcher is processing for us and for other farms, he simply cannot handle "custom cut-ups". Let me clarify. A custom cut-up is when someone orders a certain pound whole turkey but THEN wants it cut a certain way. We have a certain number of our turkeys cut up into whole breasts, leg/thigh and wings, so you can purchase turkey cuts, but these cuts aren't attributed to a certain pound bird. (If you want more detail into the inner workings of this process, email me, and I'll talk your ear off!) So, you can get cuts, but you can't order a whole bird and then ask for it to be cut up.
HERITAGE V. CONVENTIONAL
If you're new to Heritage turkeys, you might be wondering how it differs from a Conventional bird. First, it is NOT GAMEY nor TOUGH. It is tender, juicy and has a mild flavor (where Conventional birds don't have much flavor). However, it's body is more proportional, with roughly 2/3 white meat and 1/3 dark meat versus more like 80% breast for a Conventional bird. It has less body fat and therefore benefits from basting covering with a soaked cheesecloth when cooking.
HERITAGE: Our birds are Naragansetts, Spanish Blacks and Bourban Reds, and some crosses as our ladies and gents mingle. Heritage turkeys have more dark meat and will have a redder color, even when fully cooked. They grow more slowly, with a typical hen reaching a processed weight of 13 - 18 lbs and toms at 16 - 24 lbs. We cannot ensure a specific breed of turkey, as all are processed, and then sorted by size and allocated to orders. Once processed, we have no idea which of the three breeds it was.
HOW ARE THEY RAISED?
All of our birds are raised on pasture and they wander around the farm and into the woods. We offer them a custom-milled, soy-free (and corn-lite) organic feed. They are completely chemical free (no antibiotics, hormones or anything) and are humanely processed just before Thanksgiving.