The early bird gets the turkey

turkeys on farm


By Amy Brozio-Andrews

Vegetarians, avert your eyes... we're coming up on Thanksgiving and if AOA's previous post on buying your still-mooing beef has inspired you, you might be thinking about heading out to pick out a turkey to grace your table on November 27.

Er, not so fast...

Turns out that most farms that sell fresh turkeys direct to customers simply take orders, you don't get to go to the farm and say, "I want that one!" Most available turkeys are Broad-breasted Whites, the same kind you can buy in the grocery store (although a lot of farms have certified organic turkeys) and run $3-4 per pound. Also, you really need to plan ahead. For example, the Braun Farm in Canastota requires Thanksgiving turkey orders to be placed by June.

Maureen Knapp of Cobblestone Valley Farm in Preble begins sending out announcements about Thanksgiving turkey orders to her CSA customers in the spring, with the first group of certified organic turkeys available in August; by the beginning of October, she's sold out. While you don't get to pick your turkey, the pick-ups are first come, first served so if you want a big bird (the average is 15-16 lbs. and is about $3.50 per pound) you need to get there early.

Don't despair yet though, the good folks at Burl Creek Farm in Clyde (out near Rochester and Syracuse) are still taking a few more orders. It's certainly a drive, but if you really have your heart set on it and want to head out to the farm, Rachel Burley says they would indeed let you pick out your own (although most people don't choose to do that). They process all the turkeys on the Saturday before Thanksgiving and they're ready for customer pick-up by Sunday afternoon on the farm. (And if the weather's nice, there might be wagon rides!) If you're interested, call (315) 923-4730 to reserve your bird. Seriously, if you want one, you should do it now, before the last reservation is "gobbled" up.

(C'mon, I had to get that in somewhere...)

You can still order a farm fresh Thanksgiving turkey from:
Burl Creek Farm, Clyde, NY | (315) 923-4730

Also mentioned:
The Braun Farm, Canastota, NY | (315) 655-2837
Cobblestone Valley Farm, Preble, NY | (607) 749-4032

Later on AOA: Turkey time at Coldwater Creek Farm in Rensselaer County

photo: Flickr user ExperienceLA


It's not quite farm-fresh, but I think you can order free-range organic turkeys through Cardona's. Also, I believe you can order farm-fresh turkeys through Dines ( in Oak Hill.

You !@#$%^ savages. How about instead of eating those nasty looking birds you have some !@#$%^ tofu this Thanksgiving? Huh?

Wow...way to be judgmental. Eating or not eating meat is a personal choice. Are you a savage for killing all those beautiful plants and eating them?

Yes...nothing says Thanksgiving like a big, beautiful tofurkey on the table.

AV, I believe in the sanctity of all God's creatures, and there is only one place in my world for the our feather friends, and that is right next to my mashed potatoes.

Being vegetarian is so 90s.

AV, anger never gets you anywhere.. the worst veg joke ever goes something like "How do you know your eating dinner with a vegetarian? ...they tell you". It's bad because it's true.. I'm veg (see, lol) but I'll sit next to my turkey loving family and eat my sides quietly!

AV, I believe we have canine teeth for a reason....But hey, eat all the tofu you like.

As to where to get an organic turkey, Most of the little butcher/meat shops I've ever stopped in will get one for you if you ask. There used to be a great little market (Arrow Cash) on 15th St in Troy that mostly catered to the student ghetto, but they had an awesome meat counter that would order up anything you wanted and it was excellent. When I did thanksgiving for college roommates in the deep dark past I used to order fresh turkeys from there. Now I go to the bodega/meat market on my way home. Same deal. They can get almost anything and it is always far better than the meat from the local chain grocery stores. Just avoid the cereal boxes on the shelves with all the dust on top of them :)

Before you call for universal vegetarianism, make sure you educate yourself about the actual repercussions and implications such an act would have for countless animal species on this planet. "Predation is not a matter of morality or of politics; it is a matter of symbiosis. Brutal as the wolf may be to the individual deer, the deer herd depends on him for its well-being. Without predators to cull the herd, deer overrun their habitat and starve--all suffer, and not only the deer but the plants they browse and every other species that in turn, depends on those plants. In short, the Existence of the deer depends on the existence of the wolf. In a similar way, chickens (pigs, cows, etc.) depend for their well-being on the existence of their human predators. Not the individual chicken, perhaps, but Chicken - the species. The surest way to achieve the extinction of any farmed species would be to remove humans as predators." ~Michael Pollan. Humans developed over thousands of years as omnivores - neither strictly carnivore or herbivore. As a member of the human species, removing meat from one's diet is not only unhealthy, it is literally against nature.

I was a vegetarian for 14 years, but when I turned 40 I thought I needed to shake it up a bit, so I returned to the meat-eating fold. When I turn 50, I'm going to become gay. At 60, I'll declare myself a Republican and at 70, a born-again Christian.

Good thing turkeys look better on a Thanksgiving platter! Kim, I share your opinion. Thanks!

As an ex-veg myself, I have to say that Pumpkin Hazelnut Lasagna is SO much better than Tofurkey.

And even though I am looking forward to some tasty turkey, my canines are not any better suited for meat than veg. Unlike carnivores, primates have "sexy" canines. In apes, they are used for threat display or possibly for fighting over mates. Male apes tend to have large canines because they are sexually selected. Human males no longer pick up chicks with the size of their canines (at least, not any that I have met) and thus, we have reduced canine size and hardly any difference in size between the sexes.

Sorry, the human evo geek in me couldn't help herself!!!

AV, are my animal crackers acceptable to eat?

I think AV's comment was tounge-in-cheek; I hope so at least. And while Kim has a point, the franken-animals that provide the vast majority of our meat are just wrong. As a society I think we need a shift in our meat consumption. Less meat, higher quality. Just suck it up and pay a little more per pound.

Oh, and I think you can still order your Thanksgiving Turkey from the Honest Weight Food Co-op. (Or your Tofurkey)

Angry Vegetarian is what we call, on the internets, a troll.

As a vegetarian, I ordered my tofurky and will eat it besides my 30-someodd non-vegetarian relatives. I will make mushroom gravy for my mashed potatoes. But I remember turkey. It was yummy.

I just have to laugh at all these 'I love and need meat' comments.
Please, go ahead and eat all the turkey, bacon and hamburgers you want. And in no time, your life will be ruled by pharmaceutical companies in a vain attempt to control your heart disease, high cholesterol and colon cancer. Then one day, you will have to decide between heating your house eating, those burgers or your medicine because you can't afford it all.
gobble gobble.

Christ, it's the Shia-Veg trolls that give the rest of us (who seriously don't care what other people eat,) a bad name. Caffeine had it right!

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