By Mary Godnick, Communication Coordinator, Adirondack Harvest, CCE Essex
There is no sugarcoating it: a locally-raised turkey will cost more money than the big birds at the grocery store. So why spend more on something you can get so cheaply?
The average grocery store turkey will likely cost around $1.27 per pound this year, according to the American Farm Bureau. The unbelievably cheap turkeys sold at big box grocery stores are often injected with a solution that includes water, salt, and other additives. This process, known as “enhancement” or “plumping,” is done to improve the flavor and juiciness of the meat, and to increase its weight, which can make the turkey appear larger. You may be paying much less per pound on these birds, but you’re paying for a lot of salt water.
The sticker price of a “cheaper” bird is reflective of an industrialized system where profits are prioritized over the quality and taste of product, health and happiness of the birds and the workers who raise them, and the future health of our ecosystems and communities. However, buying a locally-raised bird is not feasible for everyone. If you can afford a local bird, go for it this year!
Buying a locally-raised turkey can offer more transparency into the living conditions of the bird and farming practices of the farm that raised it. If you have questions, many local farmers are more than happy to talk with you about how the birds are raised, and why.
Turkeys that are able to forage in grass, eat bugs, and move around outdoors are generally smaller, but are much more flavorful. Make the most of your bird and make a stock for soup with the carcass after the holiday.
Opting for a local bird also means that the farmers receive fair pay for their work. The average farmer only makes $0.17 for every $1.00 spent on the food they grew sold at a grocery store. Buying directly from a farmer means they will receive 100-percent of the profits they earned.
Buying a local Thanksgiving turkey is a choice that goes beyond a single meal. It’s a very simple, tangible way to support the small farms in your larger community.
Most local farms and retailers require customers to pre-order and place a deposit on their turkeys in advance, generally from September to early November.
Browse the list below or contact a farm near you to reserve a local turkey for your Thanksgiving table.
Farms Selling Local Turkeys for the 2023 Holiday Season:
Cook Family Farm, Owls Head, NY– Order online at cookfarmny.com
The Foppert Farm, Saranac, NY– Email Emily at email@example.com to order
Harmony Hills Farmstead, Malone, NY– Order online at harmonyhillsfarmstead.com
Serenity Acres Farm, Ogdensburg, NY– Call (315) 323-1145 to order
Woven Meadows Farm, Saranac, NY – Order through Farmhouse Pantry, call 5(18) 293-5174
Retail locations also selling locally- and regionally-raised turkeys:
- Fred the Butcher, Halfmoon, NY (NY Raised)
- Green Goddess Natural Market, Lake Placid, NY (From Kate Mountain Farm in Vermontville and Harmony Hills Farmstead in Malone)
- North Country Co-Op, Plattsburgh, NY (VT Raised)
- Potsdam Co-Op, Potsdam, NY (VT Raised at Stonewood Farm)
- Ticonderoga Natural Foods Co-Op, Ticonderoga, NY (VT Raised at Stonewood Farm or Misty Knoll Farm)
Browse other local farms, retailers, and winter farmers’ markets to find ingredients for the sides, desserts, and fixings at adirondackharvest.com/browse.
Photo at top: Turkey. Photo Credit: The Cook Farm, in Owls Head, NY.