November 19, 2013

Portland's Turkey Options

It's once again time to talk turkey! Options abound for frozen and fresh turkeys in the greater Portland area. I want to help you make the right decision in purchasing a bird for your holiday meal - whether you'd rather have the cheapest, biggest bird available, the tastiest breed, or the most local. So here's 15 options for turkeys in Portland; please leave other options you may know about in the comments. 

Hannaford, Forest Ave. 

Hannaford has the most turkey options, most likely satisfying your needs if you're looking for a really large turkey or a really cheap turkey. 
  • Marval $.49/lb. available from 10-14 lbs. and 16-24 lbs. - This brand was once rated by Cooks Illustrated as the tastiest and is owned by Cargill, the country's largest private company that manufactures everything from food additives to fertilizer. 
  • Hannaford $.79/lb. from 14-17 lbs. - It's hard to say where these turkeys are produced since all Hannaford offers in the way of the source of their store brand products is that they are "products that are equal to or better in quality than the leading national brands for a lot less."
  • Shady Brook Farms $.89/lb. - Also owned by Cargill, Shady Brook Farms turkeys come from all over the US, are fed vegetarian feed, are not free range, and are hormone and steroids free (but it looks like antibiotics are fair game). 
  • Butterball $1.49/lb, 10-14 lbs. and 16-24 lbs. both fresh and frozen - There is very frustratingly little transparency from Butterball about how their turkeys are raised, other than that they are never given hormones/steroids (as prohibited by the USDA) and several of their facilities in North Carolina have been investigated with several workers receiving convictions for animal cruelty. These turkeys have been injected with a solution of 'Water, Salt, Spices, and Natural Flavor." 
Shaw's, Rte 1, Falmouth

Shaw's offers the same products as Hannaford, but $.50-$.90 more expensive! I knew it all along, Shaw's. 
  • Shady Brook Farms $1.79/lb, 20-24 lbs.
  • Butterball $1.99/lb, 6-12 lbs.

Trader Joe's, Marginal Way

I hope it comes as no surprise to you that Trader Joe's is not very transparent about the source of their products either - that's kind of their bit. All we know about their store brand turkeys then is that they're available brined ($1.99/lb.) and Kosher (which are salted and for $2.49/lb.). Both are antibiotic-free and Kosher turkeys are raised according to strict standards, but I can't tell if this means the birds are treated/killed humanely or if it's a sort of greenwashing. 

Whole Foods Market, Somerset Street

Whole Foods Market has a lot of turkey varieties, fresh, frozen, pre-cooked - heck, you can order an entire pre-cooked Thanksgiving feast here. Each brand is rated using the 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating by Global Animal Partnership, which is very comprehensive in its scope of turkey treatment assessment. All turkeys available at Whole Foods are rated Steps 1-3, with 5 being the highest rating. As always, no turkeys here are given hormones or steroids and one antibiotic-free version is available. 
  • Jaindl Farms $2.49/lb, 8-30 lbs. - herb-rubbed or brined, free range, Step 2
  • Plainville Farms (PA) $2.99/lb, 8-30 lbs. - free range, antibiotic-free, Step 1
  • Jaindl Farms $3.99/lb, 8-20 lbs. - organic, free range, Step 3
  • Koch's Turkey Farm $3.99/lb, 10-24 lbs. - heirloom variety, free range, Step 1

Rosemont Market, Commercial St, Congress St, Brighton Ave. 

Turkeys are available from Mainely Poultry in Warren that are free range and cost $3.99/lb. They also have organic, pasture raised turkeys from Serendipity Acres in North Yarmouth at $4.69/lb. Birds are available in 13-16 lbs., 17-20 lbs., and 20 lbs. and up. Turkeys must be pre-ordered and are available for pick-up Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

Sam's Club, South Portland sells their store brand Members' Mark for $.99/lb. I called for the price and a membership is required to shop.

Today's Press Herald says two local options are sold out for this year, but for next, Wolfe's Neck Farm sells free range, farm fresh, sustainably raised, etc. etc. turkeys for $4.50/lb. Frith Farm in Scarborough sells organic turkeys for $4.50/lb.

The Cumberland Farmers' Market Association just posted on their facebook page that turkeys will be available for preorder from Valley View Farm and Spring Brook Farm at tomorrow's market (at Allen, Sterling, and Lothrop on Rte. 1 in Falmouth) for pick-up next Wednesday, both at $4.50/lb.

Turkeys priced highest to lowest:
  1. Serendipity Acres organic, $4.69/lb. available at Rosemont Market
  2. Valley View Farm, $4.50/lb. available at the Falmouth Farmers' Market
  3. Spring Brook Farm,  $4.50/lb. available at the Falmouth Farmers' Market
  4. Wolfe's Neck Farm, $4.50/lb. (sold out)
  5. Frith Farm organic, $4.50/lb. (sold out)
  6. Mainely Poultry, $3.99/lb. available at Rosemont Market
  7. Koch's Turkey Farm heirloom variety, $3.99/lb available at Whole Foods Market
  8. Jaindl Farms organic, $3.99/lb. available at Whole Foods Market
  9. Plainview Farms, $2.99/lb. available at Whole Foods Market 
  10. Jaindl Farms brined or herb-rubbed, $2.49/lb. available at Whole Foods Market
  11. Trader Joe's store brand Kosher, $2.49/lb. 
  12. Trader Joe's store brand brined, $1.99/lb. 
  13. Butterball, $1.49/lb. at Hannaford and $1.99/lb. at Shaw's 
  14. Shady Brook Farms, $.89/lb. at Hannaford and $1.79/lb. at Shaw's 
  15. Members' Mark, $.99/lb. available at Sam's Club 
  16. Hannaford store brand, $.79/lb. 
  17. Marval, $.49/lb., available at Hannaford 
OK, after all that, I admittedly just might buy a chicken! Enjoy your feast, and check out Portland Food Map for places to eat on the holiday if all this turkey talk has you throwing in the kitchen towel.