Now that Thanksgiving is coming upon us, most dinners will feature a turkey as the centerpiece of the table. Many of the meats available in supermarkets are grown on factory farms and are fed genetically modified grain. In addition animals and birds may be given antibiotics and hormones that may have residuals in the meat. Purchasing meat from a local farmer provides you a way to find out how your food is grown and you may even have a chance to see the animals.
I recently spoke with local farmer, Frances Tacy of Frannys Farm about her chickens and turkeys. The first thing that I discovered was that her birds were heritage breeds with her Standard Bronze turkeys’ genetic line being traceable to 1900’s and the lovely black and white chickens which are the Barred Rock variety being a long timer also. The genetic diversity of meats play an important part of a healthy diet because their superior fat distribution, protein and iron content differs as well as many nutrients. In addition, all of her flock eats a diet of certified Non-GMO milled grain and because they can roam free on the pasture, they have a varied diet of all sorts of good things.
The turkeys on Franny’s Farm are truly a slow food since they take around 6 1/2 months to mature while most birds take only 8-10 weeks to get to market. Today’s birds that are bred to get to market quickly are not as flavorful as heritage meat.
While talking with Frances about her birds, I could hear the love that Frances has for her birds. Being raised and slaughtered humanely is important to her. It is so important that they do it themselves in the most kind may possible.
Frances, a former school teacher is an educator at heart. She is a member of the Sustainable Poultry Network and has worked towards a specialized poultry breeding certification. She teaches courses at the Organic Growers School in the poultry tract. She loves having children come for a field trips or birthday parties so she can teach them about heritage poultry and sustainable farming methods. In addition to the poultry, her family grows vegetables and has a farm store during the summer. The farm is in the process of planting berry plants for next summer also! You may have heard about some music concerts on the farm and there are solar eco-cabins and campsites that people can rent .
From our conversation, I was surprised to find out that heritage turkeys may cook up quicker than those store bought ones which is also a plus! Here is a great guideline from the New York Time’s Cooking a Heritage Bird with Gravy Recipe. Here is also a Cajun Seasoning Idea for Turkey and a Turkey Southwestern Rub Southwest With so many benefits to getting a heritage bird fed a healthy diet who has been treated with kindness, you might want to make sure that you reserve yours today. If you miss getting one from Franny’s Farm, there are lots of places in WNC that you can find one in the Appalachian Sustainable Agricultural Project’s From here’s list of local turkeys and main dish meat alternatives ! If you live outside of WNC, check where you live to see if you can get one too at Local Harvest!
I hope that you, your friends and family have a great Thanksgiving! I will be sharing some more recipe ideas and tips to help you have a tasty and healthy holiday season! Two of the recipes that I fix for my Thanksgiving meal include this Sweet Potato Casserole and Fall Apple Salad Stay tuned and check out some more of my recipes on my blog and recipe section. As a registered dietitian nutritionist in Asheville, I love helping clients reach their healthy eating goals and learn more about the benefits of eating local food! Here are just a few ways that how I can help.