Whatever type of turkey you purchased for today’s feast, a turkey farmer’s number one priority is the safety and health of their flock, because a healthy turkey will ultimately be the best quality product for consumers.
Did you notice the terms conventional, free range, organic, broad-breasted white and heritage when purchasing your turkey this year? Conventional turkeys are raised in scientifically designed, environmentally controlled barns that provide maximum protection from predators, disease and bad weather. These turkeys are typically sold fresh and frozen in supermarkets across the United States.
Free range turkeys are allowed access to the outdoors. There are a limited number of free range turkeys being produced and most of them are for the holiday season. A turkey labeled “organic” has the approval and certification of the USDA. The government standard includes strict regulations on organic feed and free range access and allows no antibiotics. The Broad-Breasted White turkey is the most common type of turkey raised in the United States. In response to the demands of the American consumer’s taste preferences, a farm-raised domesticated turkey has been improved through nutrition and selective breeding. The Heritage turkey is indigenous to the Americas, dating to early Colonial times. Heritage turkeys are slowly returning to the marketplace. The are a smaller bird with a more pronounced flavor and a thicker layer of fat surrounding the breast.