PORT JEFFERSON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — If you’re like many who like their food fresh and local, there could be a special something in store for you on the Thanksgiving table this year — but it comes with a hefty price tag.
Some pluck their turkeys from the frozen food case, while others opt to cut out the middle man and cater their holiday dinner. Then there are some who opt for a new tradition involving organic, pasture-raised heritage turkeys.
The birds roamed area pastures long ago, and they’ve soared back into the mix in recent years thanks to farms like Feisty Acres on Long Island’s North Fork.
“If they’re raised on a pasture, you can absolutely taste the difference,” Feisty Acres co-owner Abra Morawiec said. “When birds are pasture raised, they get a more diverse diet. They get to eat bugs and grass, vegetables.”
They’ve got 100 turkeys this year which have been reserved by customers months in advance. The catch? They cost over ten times more than grain-fed supermarket turkeys.
“I like to support my local farmers because I want them to continue,” customer Vicky Konstantinidis. “It’s a time of year (when) we are so thankful, so I want to thank the harvest.”
Heritage breeds cost more because they’re allowed to live twice as long as their supermarket counterparts.
“Because they’re eight-months-old and they get to run around and exercise and fly and develop intramuscular fat,” Morawiec said. “It’s more rich in flavor.”
By eating heritage birds, defenders say you might actually be helping to save the breeds.
“A lot of them are on the verge of extinction, so by raising them and stewarding them we are kinda helping them stay here,” Morawiec said.
Konstantinidis says another reason she shells out $200 for the special gobbler is is to support the farmer who raised it. But she’s nowhere near a rare bird. Her Thanksgiving table will be part of a growing number that will be graced with the finest of fowl.
Feisty Acres says while they’re sold out of turkeys for this year, reservations for next year’s flock will open in August.