Choose the Right Thanksgiving Turkey
How to pick the bird that best suits your palate, your philosophy, and your wallet.
What the label means: According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, free-range turkeys have “been allowed access to the outdoors.” But this doesn’t ensure that the turkeys can roam, which would markedly improve the birds’ quality of life―and their taste. The conditions vary by producer. The word pasture is an unregulated term that indicates a roomier life spent strutting in the sun and feeding on grass and bugs.
What to expect: Free-range birds have a more robust turkey flavor and substantial texture than their coop-raised counterparts. They tend to be moist but not exceptionally so.
Price: $3 to $5 a pound.
Try: Polyface Farms, whose poultry are brought out to pasture 24/7 beginning at six weeks of age.