The turkey verdict
A few days before Thanksgiving I mentioned the organic free range turkey I bought—a first for me, and I'll admit to a bit of sticker shock. The bird cost about double what I'm used to paying for a Butterball or similar frozen turkey.
I've been eating turkey leftovers once or twice a day since the 27th, so I feel qualified to announce the verdict: the fresh organic free range turkey was worth the money. Maybe not on flavor alone—I'm not positive that I would notice the difference in a blind taste test—but adding all the other benefits, for sure.
Those benefits are:
- A better life for the turkey (right up to that last day)
- Supports local, small-scale farms (Eberly Poultry)
- Better for the earth (no chemical fertilizers, pesticides in the soil)
- No antibiotics, growth hormones, etc. that we humans would consume by eating the meat
- Very little fat (there was nothing to skim off the broth I made from bones and skin!)
- More nutritious meat
- Good turkey flavor (I even like the dark meat, which I typically avoid)
The flavor issue is tricky because it is so subjective. I've been paying attention to this since I've been buying quite a bit of organic meat and vegetables in the past several months. My overall impression is that organic food doesn't necessarily have more flavor, but the flavor is clearer and purer, if that makes any sense to you. The best way I can explain this is by comparing it to how disappointed I was when I first tasted homemade strawberry ice cream. The flavor didn't smack me in the face with "strawberryness" like the artificial flavor I was used to. It was more subtle. And better, once I got past that initial impression.
I think it's the same with turkey. For a lot of years now I've eaten turkeys injected with seasonings and flavor-enhancers, and have come to think that's how turkey should taste. This year's turkey just tastes like turkey, and I'm now convinced that it's a very good thing. Considering how critical food is to our health and well-being, food is where we should spend more money, not cut corners.
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