Heritage Turkey—The OG Bird
Turkeys were a game bird originally abducted from Mexico in the 1500s by Spanish ‘explorers.’ They would later be domesticated in Europe to what we currently raise as ‘Heritage’ varieties. The wholesome Puritans on their quest for a more culturally diverse America regifted the improved Turkeys to the burgeoning colonies of the US East coast—which takes us to our current situation: Capital-crazed factory farms vs. mom & pop slaughter shop.
Heritage turkey is any variety of old-world Turkey, raised and slaughtered outside of today’s commercial farming Goliaths. If your Grandma and Grandpa were alive today, they would tell tales of how THEIR parents raised and slaughtered these OG birds of Thanksgivings past. Spooky.
Not to be confused with wild turkey–which can be found SOMEWHERE in the wild–and has a peculiarly offensive gamey taste. Not sure what gamey tastes like? Give these commonly available Wild Boar bars a try.
Your typical factory farm will churn-out a brine-boosted, antibiotic-laden-broiler-monstrosity (that will often end up in your tendies or be gooified into McNuggies)—but, turkey.
The heritage bird experience is not that. A proper heritage turkey will be bred to keep the blood line pure and the thigh game strong—Not for the HUGEST money making breasts imaginable.
Heritage turkey varieties include:
- Standard Bronze
- Bourbon Red
- White Holland
- Beltsville Small White
- Royal Palm
Birds grow anywhere from 10 – 28 lbs. and are prized for their higher percentage of flavorful dark meat (the thing picky or any kids won’t even eat).
The bird entered mainstream network TV lexicon in 2019 with an episode of Bob’s Burgers titled Now We’re Not Cooking with Gas and referred to as “the Ferrari of turkeys.”
If you haven’t blown all your cash on whisky yet, ~90 to 300 USD will buy you a prized bird and something to do for a day in the kitchen with your new-found poverty ala poultry.
We Live in a Society
To stay competitive with factory farming, your family farmer will need to produce something other than the common Broad-breasted White—the Honda Civic of the turkey world.
Outside of arduous tasks like humane farming practices or just flaunting a rare breed, we can do the next best thing: fuel a niche market with social implications.
Do you love food, like REALL love food?
Want to show up that bitch Diane who’s visibly flaunting those Peloton bike gains?
Or maybe you’re the sociopath who just wants to support good ‘ol small scale family farming. BAM.
Do you want to experience the true meaning of Thanksgiving like a real American used to?
Marketing: Words Add Value
The quickest way to add value to something as mundane as dead frozen meat is to STUFF IT full of marketing terms on either the packaging or more likely, website.
- Farmed by John Smith = you know who off’d your bird
- Pasture Raised = Lives outside
- Certified Organic = didn’t even get to do the drugs (lame)
- corn & soy fed = what would they eat otherwise? McNuggies?
Pumping up those numbers without becoming a breast-man
Where we can addd even MORE value at sale:
- TIFFANY!—her name was Tiffany, I guess.
- Birth and death date: 2020 – 2020. RIP.
- Lifetime Fitbit activity log
- Optional: amber-entombed mosquito with your bird’s DNA—that one is self-explanatory
The actual value lies within small production efforts—essentially the absence of economies of scale. It’s the premium people are willing to pay for luxury foods. Bless us.
KIY > DIY
If you read this blog, you are either ‘McDonald’s every day rich’ or have already sold your worldly possessions in an attempt to live off the grid and maximize your savings. Nice.
If you happen to be the latter, you can quite easily share partake in the warmth, joy, and GORE that is raising and slaughtering your own heritage turkey. Starting at 8 – 15 USD per hatchling (before price breaks), an army of 100 vintage gobblers will only set you back 1,250 USD. That’s okay—you’re going to make it back to the tune of 18,000 USD before Fitbit and food expenses. You might even have access to that sweet Gov’t farm subsidy money.
Don’t forget to utilize cheap farm labor ala children (maybe your own)—or if you want to be truly authentic, indentured servants.
Get a cheap plot out in Tennessee, source your breeders, do the math for profit viability, and live out your wildest Minecraft ‘chicken’ farming operation. Way more blood and feathers to boot. You’ll be up to your neck in pillow stuffing material and you will finally know happiness.
Is it Worth the Hype?
Yes. If you thought otherwise, you haven’t been considering the caloric and social gratification a frozen bird carcass will bring:
- Heritage bird Selfie!!!
- Flex on your remaining Facebook friend
- Respect from ‘foodies’
- Small scale small farm bailout
- Superior thighs & gravy
Additionally if you simply want to watch the world burn, you can make your own HERITAGE (TURKEY) McNUGGIES ala Joshua Weissman.