Well, I went to town a on the weekend, and one of the stops was at the human food store, I was standing going up around the outside of the store, no requirement for any bad food side trips.. in the meat section.. I was brought to a standstill by Turkeys.. 15 to 18 pd turkeys for the cost of eight to nine dollars each!
Now these were a canadian Products, raised and processed in my home province, but there is no way that a bird can be that price without it being raised factory farmed and then some… I can’t even buy a day old turkey from Frey’s for less then 9.25 by the time you take the cost of the baby, plus shipping and delivery..
While there are folks that can afford to buy a local free ranged averaging 5 dollars a pound turkey out there, there are alot of folks that can not.. they need to pay rent, keep the heat on, and still want to be able to have turkey at the holiday dinner table.. Note, I did say, Want that turkey on the table, not NEED to have that turkey on the table..
The first year on the new farm, I ordered day olds, the typical big white Turkeys, and had great luck with them, they had nice temperments, I had no healthy issues, no leg issues and they were as friendly as can be.. the sound of them singing in the big barn was a delight.. I am sure that part of the reason they were so healthy was because of the way they were raised and that they were free ranged each day, and would hop and fly around to their hearts content.
I was so pleased with the qaulity of the meat we got from them, but Grit and Mother Earth had come in that year talking Heratige Turkeys, so the very next year, I researched and tracked down a gentleman about an hour an a bit away and got DH’s permission to try different breeds to see which ones we liked.. So we brought home Large Blacks, Bronze, Grey’s and Royal Palms..
The Large Blacks toms were mean and bad tempered, I was never so glad to freezer camp anyone quite as much as them, the Large Black Hens were not friendly but at least they didn’t attack like the toms did.
The Bronze were lovely, grew well and the one hen crooked neck was a total pet, she would come and sit at your feet and sing to you so that you would pet her, she stayed till she meet a natural passing. However one note, keep your proof of buying them, and a close eye on them during turkey hunting season and be prepared to talk to the hunters on the road that are all gunning for your Stunning Bronze toms.. and for a few kind local folks to gently tell you that you can’t tame wild turkeys.
The Grey’s were fine, but were the worst for putting on weight and had the most poor overall health of the four.
and then came the winner, the Royal Palm, not that big really, the males dress out at about 12 to 14 pds an the females at about 9 to 11 pds, but they are easy keepers.
Now came the main issue, after all that work, we didn’t like the meat.. it was not “wild” in taste, it was just bland and tough.. I cooked it a number of different ways and unless it was a royal Palm, I would not call any of them a good old turkey..
So the Royal Palm has stayed and we raise the white breast turkey in a humane, free range way, that gets me the end result I am looking for.. wonderful meat that I can enjoy both for taste/texture/flavor and for how it was raised. The hen above has the choice of a nice warm barn if she wanted but she will take fresh air, winter sunshine, daily free range walk and a tree roost of her choice.