The American Poultry Association (APA) lists eight varieties of turkeys in its Standard of Perfection. They are Black, Bronze, Narragansett, White Holland, Slate, Bourbon Red, Beltsville Small White, and Royal Palm. All of these varieties are Heritage Turkeys. Turkeys must meet all of the following criteria to qualify as a Heritage turkey:
1. Naturally mating: the Heritage Turkey must be reproduced and genetically maintained through natural mating, with expected fertility rates of 70-80%. This means that turkeys marketed as “heritage” must be the result of naturally mating pairs of both grandparent and parent stock.
2. Long productive outdoor lifespan: the Heritage Turkey must have a long productive lifespan. Breeding hens are commonly productive for 5-7 years and breeding toms for 3-5 years. The Heritage Turkey must also have a genetic ability to withstand the environmental rigors of outdoor production systems.
3. Slow growth rate: the Heritage Turkey must have a slow to moderate rate of growth. Today’s heritage turkeys reach a marketable weight in about 28 weeks, giving the birds time to develop a strong skeletal structure and healthy organs prior to building muscle mass. This growth rate is identical to that of the commercial varieties of the first half of the 20th century.
At our farm in Perris, California, USA we raise our Wild and Heritage Turkeys the right way: in a totally free-range and sustainable environment, with full access to the outdoors. They feed on native grasses, seeds and insects, with a grain supplement of corn and oats. No antibiotics or hormones are ever used and each bird is processed by hand to ensure quality. This translates to a superbly clean bird that yields a naturally firm and moist meat with authentic turkey flavor.
Ordering your Thanksgiving turkey
We highly recommend you plan ahead and pre-order your holiday bird as early as possible, as we often sell out.
Still need help deciding which holiday bird to buy?
Check out, “About Our Birds” for a quick rundown of each of our Turkeys, plus Goose, Pheasants, Ducks Partridge, Quails, Ostriches, Emus and Capon, all on one convenient page.
Cooking your Exotic Meat Markets turkey
Keep in mind that depending on several factors, including: size of bird, oven calibration, type of cookware used, recipe variations, and method of cooking, time and temperature will vary. We recommend use of a meat thermometer, instant-read or digital, when gauging doneness. Click here for Turkey Roasting Basics.
How to order the right size turkey
We recommend that you estimate 1-1.25 pounds per person to determine the size of turkey you will need. (For example, an 8-10 pound turkey will yield 6-8 servings). If you would like to have leftovers, then plan on at least 1.5 pounds per person.