Best Places to Order Heritage Turkeys in SF

A mere 10 days away, it’s time to order the crème de la crème of heritage breed turkeys for your Christofe set Thanksgiving table.  It would be sacrilege to use La Goule carving knives on something as pedestrian as a Broad Breasted-White, the kind you find injected full of nitrates and all wrapped up for mass consumption in a Butterball wrapping.  So why take the time to order something, drive out of your way, and pay around $90 for a 10 pound bird instead of 79 cents per pount, well simply put:  taste and authenticity. 

A crash course on Heritage Vs. Commercial

Commercial turkeys, known as the Broad Breasted White, were created by crossing breeding to the point that these birds are so top heavy that they cannot reproduce by themselves or even walk.   To make these birds, farm factories must artificially inseminate them.  Not you idea of what the pilgrims had at Plymouth Rock.   Nonetheless, typical of the San Francisco slow food movement, there are many farmers who have keep alive the idea of a wild, brown feathered, roaming turkey.   Be forewarned, heritage turkeys breeds like the Narragansett, Red Bourbon,  White Holland or Standard Bronze are the kind that roam about the land, working their leg muscles and therefore have smaller normal sized breasts and a richer poultry if not gamey flavor.  The Heritage bird need to be cooked differently as well.  All are slow growing and therefore some may have a layer of fat so you don’t need to baste or inject them full of butter.   Since these birds worked their muscles, you need to make sure not to overcook them and they will take less time to cook for a juicy result.  Speak with the following purveyors for more details and to place an order.

Golden Gate Meat Co.
Ferry Building Marketplace Shop #13

They carry Mary’s Heritage Turkeys (which are of the Narragansett breed) and the more commerical but at least free range organic Diestel bronze broad breasted variety.  They are taking orders up to the day before Thanksgiving.

Fatted Calf
320 Fell Street

They are a pick up spot for Early Bird Turkeys which need to be prepaid directly to the ranch.  Early Bird carries the Bronze broad breasted variety which still have more white meat but these do roam about on the land and are pasture raised.  Fatted Calf also carries Good Sheperd Ranch turkeys which are also heritage varieties.

Marin Sun Farms
San Francisco Ferry Plaza:   Saturdays, 8:00am-2:00pm  Marin Civic Center: Sundays, 8:00am-1:00pm Kensington: Sundays, 10:00am-2:00pm  Montclair: Sundays, 9:00am-1:00pm
415-663-8997 x203

Offering both Heritage birds and the commericial creation, White Broad Breasted, Marin Sun Farms tries to provide it’s clients with what they want which is birds that have been humanely raised so there’s a massive difference in taste.   Most importantly, Marin Sun Farms gets their Heritage turkeys from BN Ranch, an iconic natural meats purveyor (owned an operated by Bill Niman of Niman Ranch fame before he was legally forbidden to use his own name but that’s another story).  Either order online or call to pick up at one of the 4 local farmers’ markets or 2 butcher retail shoppes they have.