It’s early November as I write this and, in truth, it is likely too late to order a fresh Thanksgiving turkey from a local farm. Many farms begin taking orders in June for a November delivery. So mark your calendar today for next year.
There is always a chance that there could be a cancellation, However. So, it might be worth a call to the farm of your choice today to see if something is available.
Finally, at between $8 and $9 per pound, locally raised, fresh turkey is not inexpensive, so this would definitely be a holiday splurge.
Where are farms in Southern Maine for fresh turkey
Here are where you can buy a farm-fresh turkey in Southern Maine, for Thanksgiving or another holiday where you’ll be serving turkey.
- Alewives Brook Farm – 83 Old Ocean House Road, Cape Elizabeth, ME. (207) 799-7743.
- Harris Turkey Farm – 267 Bridge Street, Newfield, ME. (207) 432-5223.
- Pine Tree Poultry Farm – 209 Mile Hill Road, New Sharon, ME. (207) 778-2889.
Check with local butchers
If it’s too late for this year, check with local butchers or the butcher counter of your grocer. They may still be able to order a fresh turkey for you.
Here are meat markets where you can use EBT.
Things to consider if you buy a frozen turkey
If you luck out on finding a farm-fresh Thanksgiving turkey and end up having to go with a frozent turkey from the grocery store this year, the upside is that the cost will likely be less than $2 per pound. With frozen turkeys, here are some things to think about.
Many frozen turkeys come with some sort of brining or basting. Read the label carefully so that you don’t over baste, which could make the bird too salty.
Pro tip: a fresh turkey should be okay for about four days in your refrigerator. So beat the crowds and pick up your bird on the Tuesday of Thanksgiving week to assure freshness and avoid the Wednesday lines.
Free range vs organic Thanksgiving turkeys
Here’s a quick primer on free range versus organic turkeys. This holds true for most animals you eat.
One, free range is not the same as organic. Free range birds are allowed to roam a pasture and are not kept in cages all day.
Two, organic turkeys are free range turkeys that are fed organic feed and are not treated with hormones or antibiotics.
While all organic birds are free range — it’s part of the qualifications that the USDA requires for a bird to be labeled certified organic — not all free range turkeys are organic.
So, is it worth paying about a dollar more per pound for an organic bird? Of course, that’s a judgment call. Organic birds are treated more humanely.
And, some experts believe that turkeys that have access to the outdoors and are allowed to roam are more relaxed and that makes them more tender. In addition, organic birds are not given antibiotics or growth hormones.
Also, since their feed must be certified organic, you know they haven’t been fed anything with pesticides or herbicides in it. If eating chemical-free food is how you live most of the year by buying organic produce or organic dairy, then an organic bird may cost more but it fits with how you live your life already.
Finally, if you do plan ahead and get that farm fresh Thanksgiving turkey next year, be sure to ask your local farmer questions about free range or organic or whatever is important to you. Just because you get a turkey that was raised locally, it doesn’t mean it is either free range or organic.