When it comes to turkey, fresh, frozen and kosher are the three mainstream choices consumers face today. That said, certified organic, free-range and heritage breed (sustainably raised old-fashioned breeds that were once common on American farms) are increasingly available. You’ll pay top dollar for them, but typically they will reward you with great flavor.
And don’t feel beholden to the American standard-bearer of birds. Long Island offers a wealth of diversity and the North Fork’s sprawling farms offer everything from duck to guinea hen. Here are five poultry farms you should consider for your holiday feasts.
This Jamesport poultry farm raises Japanese quail, chukar partridge, guinea fowl, silkie chicken and bourbon red turkeys.
The farm accepts special orders only and requires a $100 minimum for farm pickup, which takes place on Saturday mornings. Turkeys, at $8.99 per pound, require a $50 deposit. “Reserve early,” says farmer Abra Morawiec, “as they are going quickly.”
The Mattituck farm raises sheep, poultry and ducks. In addition to a chicken CSA — a whole pastured chicken picked up biweekly for 10 or 20 weeks — Browder’s offers poulet rouge chickens ($7.50/lb.), Cornish cross chickens ($8.50/lb.) and pasture-raised turkeys ($7.50/lb.).
Near the holidays, these prizes can be found at Peconic’s Sang Lee Farm Stand (25180 County Road 48, Southold, (631) 734-7001). Thanksgiving turkeys, however, must be preordered on the farm’s website.
4050 Soundview Avenue, Mattituck, (631) 477-6523, browdersbirds.com.
Miloski’s Poultry Farm
Known for their turkeys, which the farm has been raising since 1946, Miloski’s is also a go-to destination for chicken and duck. With 30 acres dedicated to roaming fowl, the farm produces about 4,000 turkeys each holiday season, all of which are antibiotic- and hormone-free.
Chickens are $3.45/lb., ducks are $4.50/lb. and turkeys are $4.95/lb. You’ll want to special order your turkey by phone to avoid missing out on what some bill as “the tastiest on Long Island.”
4418 Middle Country Road, Calverton, (631) 727-0239, miloskispoultryfarm.com.
Crescent Duck Farm
Crescent Duck Farm offers a stunning array of duck products: whole fresh birds, whole frozen birds, duck feet, duck tongues, duck livers, duck fat, duck wings, bone-in breasts, boneless breasts and plenty more. Birds are fed natural grains that lack hormones or growth stimulants. Duck lovers can order directly from Crescent’s website.
10 Edgar Avenue, Aquebogue, (631) 722-8000, crescentduck.com.
Deep Roots Farm
Nominal amounts of chicken are for sale at the farm stand from May through October, but Deep Roots accepts special orders for holidays and events. For pricing and availability, contact Tom Hart via email.
57685 NY-25, Southold, (631) 745-7928, firstname.lastname@example.org.