Why Choose a Pasture-Raised Turkey?

Madeline: Posted 13/11/2014

With Thanksgiving coming, it means that right now is the perfect time to plan your holiday menu. But, just because it is a holiday, doesn’t mean that you should lower your food quality standards for the big meal. Thanksgiving dinneris a great opportunity to support the health of your loved ones by serving high quality food, and you should be sure that you are buying an organic turkey for the center of the table. The “gold standard” is a pasture-raised turkey. Learn why..

How are Pasture-Raised Turkeys Raised?

There is a drastic difference in the way a pasture-raised turkey is raised, compared with conventionally raised birds. Pasture-raised turkeys are raised on pasture (as opposed to free-range, which only mandates “access to the outdoors”, whatever THAT means), and spend their days outside in the sunshine on untreated pasture, as nature intended. They scratch for bugs and fertilize the soil. They socialize without stress and live happy lives. All of the above makes a difference in the quality of the meat, as well as the quality of the land and the air. On the other hand, conventional turkeys are limited to a small space and they are kept indoors for most of their life.

Pasture-raised turkeys live in an environment free of fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides on the land where they are roaming, and they are not given any antibiotics or growth hormones. Additionally, they are given an organic feed to help them get the nutritional benefits that are needed for optimal health and growth.

If you can find a local farmer who is raising turkeys on pasture (it’s easy to drive-by and see!), be sure to reserve one early! Ask the farmer about his/her practices, if their supplemental feed is organic, and if the grass is untreated. I found there’s no greater feeling than actually MEETING the person who raises my food. There’s an accountability there that you can’t get from the manager at the Stop n Shop. This farmer doesn’t want you coming back next week with your sick child and a lot of accusations. It’s his farm, his living and he is personally vested in making sure you are happy and healthy. Additionally, you are supporting a local farmer and an establishment that uses eco-friendly methods to raise the animals.

Advantages of Pasture-Raised Meat

Did you know that there is a distinct difference in the nutritional profile of an animal that is raised organically? Conventionally raised meat is lacking in certain nutrients, and it also has a higher fat content. On the other hand, animals raised on an organic, pasture-raised farm are able to graze and live in a natural environment, which helps to boost the vitamins and minerals that are available in the meat.

Another advantage is the fact that organically raised meat has a lower risk of salmonella. When conventional animals are crowded into a small space, they are much more likely to get sick because the disease and illnesses are easily passed around. Often, these tight living quarters are filthy and filled with potentially harmful bacteria, and the bacteria can be passed onto you if you eat the meat. Choosing an organic alternative means that you can drastically reduce the risk of food poisoning from your food.

Also consider that organic, pasture-raised meats are completely free of any additives, which means that they are better for your health. Over 3,000 chemical additives have been approved for use in food, and it is common for non-organic meats to be injected with different chemicals in order to improve the flavor, tenderize the meat, and add moisture to increase the weight of the package.

Where to Buy Pasture-Raised Turkeys

Visiting the local grocery store isn’t the best option when you are buying your Thanksgiving turkey because it is rare for a regular grocery store to carry this type of specialty item. If you don’t have a local farm (or time to find one), we have a source on Long Island and Queens/Staten Island for pasture-raised turkeys from a regionally-local and trusted supplier. The pictures on this page were taken at his farm last fall. Check out Nourishing Long Island for more information. If you join soon, you might even be able to get a pasture-raised turkey on your table in time for Thanksgiving.

They recognize and reject the harmful, unsustainable practices associated with the “conventional” food industry. Nourishing Long Island provides quality without the use of chemical fertilizers,pesticides, GMOs, daily antibiotics, growth hormones and toxic chemicals that are commonplace in today’s “conventional” systems.


Organic vs. Non-Organic: What's the Difference?


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