Finding a Sustainable Turkey

Ecocentric Blog

Ecocentric Blog › Ecocentric, an online publication about food, water and energy, is the official blog of the GRACE ...


November is here and so begins planning the Thanksgiving feast.

If you’re interested in purchasing a pastured turkey from a small, local farmer, now’s the time! If you don’t know where or how to start looking for a sustainably raised turkey, Erin McCarthy of Ecocentric Blog put together a great regional overview of farms, directories and shops to help you source and buy a delicious pastured or heritage bird for this year’s menu.

If you’re planning on serving turkey this Thanksgiving, have you ordered your bird yet? I’m guessing there are three possible reactions to this question: the self-assured nod of the well-versed foodie, the panicked “I’ve gotta get on that!” of the more forgetful among us and the “Why would I order one? I’m getting a Butterball from the grocery store.” If that last one is you, you’re certainly not alone, but we think you’d be better off choosing a pastured raised turkey or a heritage turkey. These traditional breeds are best suited to be raised in a sustainable manner and reproduce naturally, unlike the common Broad Breasted White found in industrial operations and, unfortunately, served at the majority of Thanksgiving dinners. In fact, heritage turkeys recently won in a taste test over conventional turkeys. So, now that you’re convinced, where can you find one? Let’s break it down by region:

A friend of mine living in Madison, Wisconsin recently looked for help through Facebook by posing the following question: “Madison friends: any advice on where to buy a fresh local turkey for t-day?” She got many helpful responses, including (I was happy to see) two Eat Well Guide farms – Ruegseggers Farms and JenEhr Family Farm – that raise heritage turkeys.

West Coast:
A similar model to Heritage Foods in California, Belcampo Meat Company lets you order your pastured turkey online and then pick it up the week of Thanksgiving at their scheduled “Meat-Up.”

Click here to read the rest of the article and find more great resources at!

This article originally appeared at It is partially posted here with permission from the author.

As program associate of GRACE’s Food team for the past three years, Erin McCarthy has played an integral role in expanding the Eat Well Guide and connecting growers with eaters. Erin grew up noshing on the fresh fruit and veggies of eastern Long Island, New York, and thus began her love for all things natural. However, if marooned on a desert island, she is fairly certain she could sustain herself for years to come just on her grandmother’s ravioli. (from Ecocentric Blog)

Photo Credit: Dawn Brighid