"Put a Bird on it." Let's talk turkey!
The phrase, "Put a Bird on it," comes from the quirky IFC TV show, Portlandia, which spoofs the lifestyle in nearby Portland, Oregon. The episode implies that if you "put a bird" on something it becomes art. This time of the year, "Put a Bird on it," reminds us that it's time to talk about which Thanksgiving turkey to put on our tables.
There are plenty of birds to choose from too; organic, sustainable, free range, heirloom or heritage, and of course, the many fresh (or frozen) commercially raised turkeys. You'll find lots of options at local grocery stores and many suggest that it's time to reserve your "fresh" birds.
Turkey talk - many choices when it comes to putting a bird on it.
You'll find most of the turkeys in our local stores are broad breasted white turkeys. It's the type of turkey often raised with chemical feed and growth stimulants. Many have an unnatural white appearance that speaks of its artificial lifestyle.
One of the most popular brands of fresh/frozen turkeys in our country is the Butterball brand. The company says their birds are hormone free, gluten free, and completely natural. However, if you do some research, there is a bit of controversy surrounding that claim.
In our region, Foster Farms, a California based company, has a history of a commitment to raising healthy birds. The Foster Farms poultry we purchase in local stores has been raised in Washington and Oregon. They too claim their turkey has no added hormones, steroids or artificial enhancers.
Walking the Turkey Talk - Putting a healthier bird on the table.
Keep in mind, Federal regulations do not allow farmers to add hormone and steroids to any poultry. Therefore, don't get too "wowed" by those claims on packages.
As with most things, you get what you pay for in terms of turkey.
Some consumers are now taking food buying a step farther, there's a growing trend for purchasing true organic, or sustainablly ably grown foods. The idea of fresh and local in growing in appeal.
Turkeys are no exception. Be sure to look for birds that are certified organic. Diestal brand turkeys, for example, claim their organic poultry is third-party certified by Oregon Tilth Certified Organic. The birds are carefully handled by growers and processors.
Sustainable turkeys are similar to the organic label. These birds contain NO additives and are given access to the outdoors during their growth life-cycle. Once again, do your homework and expect to pay more for the Certified Organic and Sustainable label.
The even more expensive option is the heritage turkey. These birds get plenty of free-range exercise and enjoy a natural diet of dinsects and grasses. Since they take longer to mature, their flavors are more pronounced, with a higher dark meat to white meat ratio than other birds.
The Midget Whites and Bourbon Red heirloom turkeysf in particular score high in taste tests. Regardless, it pays to do some research in order to determine the type of bird that's best for your family. This season, it's time to talk turkey and "Put a Bird on it," for the upcoming holidays.
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