Here's Where to Buy a Heritage Breed Turkey
Heritage breed turkeys, first and foremost, are not the frozen Broad-Breasted Whites you find around Thanksgiving. Those were genetically bred to have larger breasts to serve a growing consumer demand – often so large they can’t walk or breed naturally. “Heritage” is an overarching term that comprises more than 10 different breeds retaining certain natural characteristics and behaviors: natural mating, a longer lifespan, and a slow growth rate. They are typically given acres of land to roam; are chemical, drug, and hormone free; and live like an undomesticated turkey would.
So, how does it taste? It’s hard to generalize across all the different breeds of heritage turkey, but the common opinion is that they are much more flavorful than industrial turkeys. They’re not gamey, but buttery and rich, likely due to their diverse diet and ability to grow and move around freely.
Tips for Thanksgiving:
• Heritage turkeys cook more quickly than a broad-breasted bird, so the biggest danger is overcooking them.
• Buy a heavier bird than normal: their bones are heavier, so account for 1-1/2 lb. per person, and know that you’ll have as much dark meat as white meat.
• Finally, be ready to order ahead of time, as they often sell quick.
Where to Get a Heritage Breed Turkey
John Boy’s Farm at The Outpost
Breeds: White Holland; Bronze
How and when to order: Email your order to firstname.lastname@example.org. They started taking orders last year on October 31.
Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture
Breeds: Broad-Breasted Bronze
How and when to order: Stone Barns announces heritage breed availability by mid-October and tends to sell out quickly. The best way to find out about the turkeys (sale timing and availability) is to sign up for their email list at
How and when to order: Orders at Northwind Farms are starting now until Thanksgiving. Call them at 845.757.5591.
Quattro Farm Store
Breeds: Bourbon reds, bred by the farm themselves
How and when to order: Quattro Farm Store starts selling heritage breed turkeys October 1 until Thanksgiving or until they are sold out. Call the store at 845.635.2018 or visit the Union Square Greenmarket in NYC on Saturdays, and the Rhinebeck Farmers’ Market on Sundays.