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Thoughtful Turkey Eating

November 13, 2009

So I’m in sticker shock about the buzzword-turkey that I ordered Wednesday at the farmer’s market.  ‘Buzzword’, you know, as in: “pasture-raised, organically fed, non-GMO, happy turkey.”

I just need a small bird in the ten pound range and it’s going for $5.25 per pound.  I signed up for a turkey that is going to cost over $50.  Yikes!  It made me wonder what a turkey with fewer buzzwords goes for these days.  Turns out I could get a twenty pound Butterball for $20.  Twice as large, less than half the price.  So there you go.  Those are the simple economics of buzzword-turkey.

Since it’s a number that scares me – the big FIVE-O – maybe I can talk myself down with numbers.  I’m going to feed six members of my family with this bird and then each of us will eat leftovers.  That means I’m getting at least twelve portions which run around $4 per portion.  Already my heart rate is calming.  Then of course I can make stock from the carcass, for extra credit.

But really I chose this turkey because I like knowing who raised it – the caring people at Mint Creek Farm.  People.  Real people raised my bird and are offering it to me to help feed my family.  Buying it from them means I’m helping them feed their family.  They looked after tom for me all year.  I couldn’t insult them with the Butterball price of $10 for their efforts, could I?  How could a farmer survive by selling ten pound turkeys for $10?  I’m no farmer, but I can see that’s ridiculous.  Hmm…I wonder how those big operations make that work…steroids, GMOs, confinement lots?

I also know that Mint Creek farms biodynamically to improve soil quality and because they’d like to reduce the size of the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.  Let me say that again.  This small farm in Illinois is making farming decisions with the health of the Gulf of Mexico in mind.  I’m starting to feel like I should offer them $100 for that $50 turkey.  I think maybe I’m getting a good deal!

As for the $22 black Angus T-bone my wife and I split for dinner that night, well, I think that was just a splurge!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Darris Lee Harris permalink
    November 19, 2009 8:38 pm

    How about pork shoulder for Thanksgiving? I luv pork

  2. Anne Fessler permalink
    December 22, 2009 2:13 pm

    Enough to make you want to go vegetarian? 🙂 Nice blog, Grant! I’m just visiting for the first time…

  3. February 19, 2010 6:29 pm

    I remember being amazed the first time I splurged and bought a free range chicken from my local Pasture’s Pride Farm down the road. What a difference in taste when you pay for the free range, no chemicals/antibiotics/hormones, raised scratching-in-the-dirt, breathing-in-the-breeze, and sleeping-under-the-stars chicken! It tasted sweeter, more moist, had a firmer texture, and was full of flavor. Worth spending twice as much money — it was an entirely different animal than the industrial factory raised chicken. Love your write-ups, and the photography is beautiful, as usual, Grant.

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