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I Ordered 4 Turkeys Online and This Was My Favorite - Shopping

I Ordered 4 Turkeys Online and This Was My Favorite - Shopping
From The Kitchn - November 4, 2017

We do not all have a gourmet grocer in town where we can easily snag an organic, free-range or heritage turkey for our holiday feast. For a lot of people, it's either an industrially raised supermarket turkey or nothing. But hope can come ... through the internet. There are a few producers with online marketplaces who can ship you a freshly processed top-notch bird that will truly earn its place at the center of the table.

Here's how they stacked up.

Of course, these premium turkeys come at a price. Because they are not industrially farmed, they are more expensive to produce. Most hover at around $6 per pound, with shipping adding an extra $15 to $50. And keep in mind these are not a year-round product. There's a limited number available, so you will need to pre-order your turkey as soon as possible before the size you want is sold out. Do not worryyou wo not have to hang onto it for weeks. The turkeys are usually shipped via UPS or FedEx the week of Thanksgiving.

I tested out four mail-order turkeys (all free of any additives) to see if they are worth the extra effort and price tag. I cooked them all the same way (at 350F on a roasting rack with just a few cups of broth poured into the roasting pan for basting). I used no herbs or seasonings, so that each turkey's natural flavor could come through.

See the steps: How To Cook a Turkey: The Simplest, Easiest Method

1. D'Artagnan Free-Range Organic Turkey

This online gourmet retailer specializes in the finer things, like several varieties of duck breast, truffles, and caviar, and it's no slouch when it comes to turkeys, either. In addition to offering an organic turkey, they also have a heritage breed and wild turkeys.

I opted for organic, to keep the playing field level, which meant the breed would be a Broad-Breasted White. The turkeys are fed an organic, vegetarian diet of non-GMO corn and soy. They are given no animal byproducts, no antibiotics, and no growth hormones.

The 16-pound bird arrived plump and beautiful. The skin did not get as burnished and brown as some of the others, but it still crisped nicely. The flavor throughout was rich and deep, with a "classic turkey" flavor. The majority of my taste testers preferred this one over all the others. If you love the distinct flavor of turkey, this is the one to get.

As for cost, it's on par with the others, about $6.40 per pound. A 12- to 14-pound turkey will cost $83.99 and shipping is an extra $38.95.

2. Fossil Farms Free-Roaming Turkey

This New Jersey-based meat purveyor got its start with "exotic" meats like ostrich and bison, but now sells a wide variety of meats including turkey. The common denominator is that they are all sourced from family farms that use sustainable practices. As for the turkeys, they are all Nicholas breeds, which a Sonoma county poultry breeder introduced in the 1950s. The turkeys are raised on small farms in New Jersey and Pennsylvania where, according to the company, they are free-roaming and fed a vegetarian diet of corn, rye, oats, alfalfa, and soybean meal. Antibiotics, hormones, and steroids are never used.

3. Organic Prairie Organic Whole Young Turkey

4. Willie Bird Natural Free Range Turkey

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