In a week, families and friends will gather at tables across the country to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. This is a time for gratitude — toasting our bountiful blessings while piling our plates high with a cornucopia of festive foods: creamy mashed potatoes, savory stuffing, tart cranberry sauce, and spiced pumpkin pie.
At the center of the traditional feast is a big-breasted bird whose signature "gobble" prompts fans of all ages to state their preference for "white meat or dark?"
I'm talking, of course, about the turkey.
Whether slow-roasted in the oven with butter and herbs or immersed in a pot of hot oil and fried to a golden, crispy-skinned finished, this bird is the undeniable centerpiece of most traditional celebrations. That's why it's important not to skimp when it comes to the quality of the meat that graces your table.
If you want to make your feast truly special this year, consider ordering a locally grown, pasture-fed bird direct from one of the following North Bay farms. Their free-range turkeys may carry a premium price tag, but they are guaranteed to provide your guests with the tastiest, humanely raised meat possible. NOTE: These sustainably raised birds are available in limited supply and are selling out quickly. Don't delay in reserving your turkey!
Marin Sun Farms, located in West Marin, offers two varieties of pasture-raised turkeys to choose from. The Broad Breasted Bronze is a classic bird bred to maximize white breast meat. The farm also raises several Heritage variety birds including Spanish Black, Narragansett, Bronze, and White Holland, whose meat more closely resembles that of a wild turkey. These latter Heritage breeds yield more rich dark meat in the finished bird, and are described as "the premier option for taste and rarity".
Turkeys raised at Marin Sun Farms live a quality life, allowed to roam free-range while foraging on a natural diet of grasses, berries, seeds, insects, and pasture plants. They are never given artificial growth hormones or stimulants, and are guaranteed to be antibiotic free.
To pre-order your Thanksgiving turkey direct from Marin Sun Farms, use one of the following options:
* Online butcher shop at www.marinsunfarms.com/retail
* Contact Mike at 415-663-8997, x106 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
* In person at the following retail butcher counters: 10905 Shoreline Hwy 1, Point Reyes Station, (415) 663-8997 x 201; or Oakland's Rockridge Market Hall, 5655 College Avenue, (510) 601-8997.
* In person at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market, Saturdays from 8:00am-2:00pm, or the San Rafael Civic Center Farmers' Market, Sundays from 8:00am-1:00pm.
Patrons who pre-order a turkey from Marin Sun Farms can select from several Bay Area pick-up locations.
Tara Firma Farms, located at 3796 I Street in the rolling hills west of Petaluma, has a limited supply of pasture-raised White Broad-Breasted turkeys available for purchase. These free-range birds spend their lives feeding on naturally occurring forage from the field, supplemented with fresh fruits, veggies, and organic grain mix. They are always hormone and antibiotic free. This sustainable farm’s commitment to humane husbandry practices extends all the way to processing the birds on site with minimal stress to the animals.
Tara Firma is now accepting credit card deposits to reserve your Thanksgiving turkey. Call (707) 765-1202 for more information, or visit their website at www.tarafirmafarms.com .
Willie Bird Turkeys, based in Sonoma County, is a family run farm that has raised free-range turkeys since 1948. The Benedetti Family, owners of Willie Bird Turkeys, developed their now famous recipe for wet-curing finished birds in a low-salt marinade of special oils and spices, then aging the meat to perfection before smoking it over natural alderwood.
Each bird is fully cooked, cooled, and vacuum-sealed to retain maximum flavor and freshness. The resulting taste has a "depth and character of flavor" that has become synonymous with the Willie Bird trademark. These birds need only gentle re-heating before serving which makes them a convenient option for your Thanksgiving buffet or table.
In addition to their whole smoked birds, patrons may also buy fresh natural free-range or free-range organic turkeys at Willie Bird.
To order your Willie Bird Turkey or ask about shipping rates, call (877) 494-5592, or (707) 545-2832. For more information, refer to their website at www.williebird.com. Pre-ordered turkeys are available for pick-up at the farm's retail store, located at 5350 Highway 12, Santa Rosa, California (near Sebastopol). Turkeys can also be shipped via 2nd day FedEx.
If you want to garner raves at this year's Thanksgiving feast, you can't go wrong with a turkey from one of these local North Bay farms.