Talking Turkey- Is Organic Worth the Price?

Turkey Strut-art

It’s almost here… Thanksgiving! It’s time to shed a little light on the advantages and disadvantages of buying organic. Here are some things to think about when you purchase that turkey.

The main disadvantage of an organic turkey is its price, which can sometimes be double the price of a traditional frozen turkey. A turkey is suppose to age for three days for maximum tenderness. The traditional turkey is usually immediately thrown on ice. An organic turkey is free of chemicals, fresh, and treated humanly, which makes the extra cost worth it.

Traditional Frozen Thanksgiving Turkey

A traditional turkey may be super-sized because it is chemically and genetically modified, which may make the turkey drier and less tender. Many traditional turkeys are raised in crowded conditions inside and under heat lamps. They are usually feed corn-based mash that may be laced with hormones or antibiotics. Many turkeys become overweight, which can contribute to broken bones, or cause the turkey to die from a heart attack.

Heritage Turkey for a Green Thanksgiving

Heritage turkeys are naturally breed, and are more resistant to diseases. They account for the majority of all supermarket turkeys sold. Heritage turkeys dine on fresh grass and insects, and have considerably long, happy lives. They are more expensive, and have more dark meat than light meat.

Organic turkeys are known to have a better flavor, and to have a lower risk of salmonella. These turkeys are also known to have many health benefits. Organic turkeys spend a great deal of time grazing outside eating a diet that is free of pesticides, hormones and antibiotics.

If you want to be certain the turkey you are purchasing is organic, buy it directly from a farmer or health food store that you know and trust. For a turkey to be certified organic, the entire environment from yard to feed has to follow the government standard “all natural” label.

Free Range Turkey for a Green Thanksgiving

Free range turkeys mainly spend their life outside of a pen. They feast on grubs and grass. You want to make sure if you choose a free range turkey for your green Thanksgivings that is labeled all natural and organic. Free range doesn’t always mean all natural that is why the labeling is so important.

Breed Makes a Difference

The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) and the Slow Food Movement are also promoting heritage or legacy turkeys. These organizations are working to save four of the best-known heritage turkeys eaten by our forefathers before the era of manufactured birds. The four most popular breeds, the Bourbon Red, MEJersey buff, Narragansett bay and standard bronze, are all renowned for their taste.

Fresh vs. Frozen

Another benefit of organic turkeys is that most come fresh. Why is fresh better than frozen? Again, it’s down to taste. Turkeys need to age for three days to make them tender, but most frozen birds are thrown on ice immediately after being processed. If you are buying a frozen gobbler, be sure to brine your bird–a method of soaking your unthawed turkey in salt water before roasting. It’s worth the effort since it makes the meat tender and juicy.

Veggies Only

For those who want to avoid the bird altogether, there is the famous Tofurkey, a popular substitute for the traditional turkey.

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

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