Tomorrow is my big debut....my first Thanksgiving dinner for my tiny little fam!
I have been researching and preparing all week for this dinner.
The turkey has been in the fridge, in a dry brine, since Thursday. The Pumpkin Pie dough and Challah bread for my stuffing started Friday night. And, as you read this Saturday, I am making more preparations and picking up last minute things at the local farmer's market.
My goal was to make this as much of a SOLE Thanksgiving dinner as possible - meaning the food is sustainable, organic, local and ethical. Most of this was not a problem. The turkey, however, is another story. I wanted to purchase one from a local farm, but I learned I was a little late in the game reserving one. I did find one farmer who still had some available, however, they were rather large and I was only looking for something around 10-12 pounds. So, I ended up at a local grocery store - Giant Eagle. I didn't really want to go this route, but it is what worked for this time around. Next year I will know better and make a reservation with a local farm early!
I could have stood at their turkey display all day trying to figure out what I wanted. They did have a few 'fresh' turkeys under their 'Nature's Basket' line, which are labeled as a 'all-natural' turkey. Upon further reading on the packaging, it stated something to the effect of the USDA not allowing any growth hormones etc to be added to poultry. I can't say I had ever heard this before, actually, I have heard the complete opposite! But the way it was worded made me believe that this statement applied to any turkey in front of me, not just the Nature's Basket line. I ultimately knew better - marketing at it's finest. Everything is so misleading you can't trust any labels anymore.
I opted for the plain 'ol Giant Eagle branded 'fresh' turkey since it came in a size I could work with. It was not labeled 'organic' or that it was 'all-natural' and not pumped up with hormones. It did say 'No MSG'. I am not stupid, I knew it wasn't the ideal turkey I had hoped to serve, but it worked for me this time around and it was fresh, which was nice. I wasn't convinced anyways, that the 'Nature's Basket' branded turkey was truly any different than this one, other than the packaging. Once I took it home and 'undressed' the bird, it was a complete disappointment. The whole inside of the turkey was frozen!! I couldn't even get the neck and other goodies out. This wouldn't have been such a big deal if it weren't for the fact that I paid about $1/lb extra for a turkey that was supposedly fresh.
(Photo Credit: Giant Eagle.com)
Of course this isn't ruining the dinner. It is not like the turkey is bad, or inedible. It is just the point. The principal. I came to terms with the fact that this years bird wouldn't be from a local farmer, but at the very least, I would have hoped that when I purchased a turkey stating 'fresh' on the packaging, as opposed to the neighboring cooler of 'frozen' birds, that I would truly be getting a fresh bird!
Just a few other random rants - why does a bird pumped full or hormones and garbage cost more than a bird left to free-graze on bugs? One would think that it cost more to pump all those hormones than to let the bird feed off bugs...I'm just saying.....
And, if you think I am overreacting about this in general...about buying a bird from a grocery store instead of a local farmer, just google something like 'turkeys from giant eagle' or 'turkey from the grocery store', 'giant eagle turkey' and you tell me how you feel about all the recalls due to salmonella that pop up. Seriously, big ag sucks! Know what you grow!! Here is one more good food for thought article - and now I have to stop because I am going onto a completely different tangent!
So, where do you purchase your bird?