With fall harvest season in full swing, there was good news from the USDA for consumers who prefer to buy their produce, meat, dairy and eggs directly from farmers: the number of farmer’s markets in the United States has grown by 13% over the past year. According to the agency, 5,274 farmer’s markets are now operating nationwide, up from 4,685 reported in 2008 (a gain of 589 markets). The USDA has just launched the “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative to help develop local and regional food systems and spur economic opportunity.
If you keep up with turkey trends, you’ve probably noticed a certain word coming up more frequently each year. Now a growing culinary trend, “heritage” turkeys were once the standard at Thanksgiving tables across the United States. With the post-war advent of intensive confinement and industrial breeding techniques they all but disappeared from American farms and tables.
Luckily, a few farmers like Frank Reese Jr. of Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch maintained these old breeds and are now able to share them with people looking for turkey that tastes a little more…turkey-ey. Frank will be joining us now until the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to field questions and give advice on finding a real heritage turkey. What do you need to look for, and what should you ask the farmer or grocer?
Post your questions in the comments section of this blog, and Frank will reply, drawing on years of experience and lots of taste tests. Please allow a day or two for your answer to post. If you’re new to the subject, click here to get a heritage turkey primer. Check back often for more information and maybe a recipe or two!