Turkey is king at the Thanksgiving table. It is the main dish that represents the entire holiday. Because we are concerned with the connection between food and fuel here at Sustainable America, we have tried to explain the labeling of your options in order to help you make the most informed decision about your holiday bird. That may mean very different things in different parts of the country, and we certainly understand that some options are more expensive and may not work for every budget. Choosing a locally-raised turkey is a good start in most cases!
The turkey is one part of the Thanksgiving feast where going local is likely to require a bit more forethought, but it’s well worth it. There are many delicious alternatives to the supermarket turkey that has often traveled far from its factory farm to your table.
For example, if you want a historically accurate Thanksgiving, heritage turkeys are closer to what our forefathers actually ate on Thanksgiving. These birds are descended from early domesticated turkeys and have leaner bodies and better flavor. They also tend to be free-range, allowed to grow to a healthy size and maturity, and typically come from small farms with sustainable practices. Heritage turkeys are more expensive than the average supermarket bird, and demand for them at Thanksgiving is high, so plan ahead! Local Harvest is a great resource for finding any local ingredient, but they have a special turkey page up right now that allows you to enter your zip code and find turkeys from within 100 miles. From heritage turkeys to local chickens, there are lots of ways to celebrate a tasty, local choice. Our graphic below outlines some of the options available for your holiday bird!
The main idea here is that mindful eating does require research, and what better time to practice mindful eating than a holiday based upon giving thanks? Having a relationship with your local farmer can give you a better idea of what goes into your food, and build a stronger connection to your community.