The opportunity to gather with our loved ones for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday is upon us. With less than two weeks to go, it’s a good time to consider the local turkeys our area has to offer.
Kelly Bronze in Crozet
The Kellys had raised bronze turkeys for over 30 years in the United Kingdom when they decided to open their first U.S. satellite location in Crozet in 2014 at Heritage Glenn Farm. Operators Cari and Judd Culver had partnered with the Kellys in 2012 while living in Scotland and proposed the satellite location upon their return to the States. All of the turkeys on the Crozet farm are raised completely free range. When purchasing a turkey from Kelly Bronze you have many options, from 10 lbs. to 25 lbs. In addition to being bronze rather than white turkeys, Kelly bronze turkeys are distinguished by the slow process through which they are raised and dried. First, the birds are allowed to mature fully. Then after they are slaughtered, they are dry plucked by hand and dry aged for up to 14 days, with the result that the meat is more tender and flavorful. And according to the Kellys, their turkeys have enough natural fat to make basting completely unnecessary. Their website is set up to accept orders online and they do deliver.
Polyface Farm in Augusta County |43 Pure Meadows Lane, Swoope, VA 24479 | 540-885-3590
Less than an hour west of Charlottesville in Augusta County, the Salatin family of Polyface Farm has embodied environmentally-friendly, sustainable farming practices since 1961. There was even an article published about them in Smithsonian Magazine in June 2000. The Salatins raise their pastured turkeys on local grains and as much grass as they can eat. The turkeys are kept safe in an open-air paddock that is moved every couple of days to a fresh plot of grass. They also have access to a portable hoop house where they can seek shelter. Their turkeys are available for purchase at Rebecca’s Natural Foods and Foods of All Nations in Charlottesville.
Long Roots Farm in Augusta County | 254 Campbells Hollow Road, Middlebrook, VA 24459 | 540-335-3952
This family farm run by Charles and Anna Long, also in Augusta County, raises pastured turkeys that forage their fields and eat GMO-free grain made in the Shenandoah Valley. They reside in open paddocks with netting to keep them safe from predators and are rotated on a weekly basis to allow for fresh grazing and sanitary conditions. As it happens, Charles is very well-acquainted with today’s commercialized turkey farms because he’s the grandson of Jim Long, the founder of Virginia’s first mass-producing turkey farm. While working in the family business, Charles developed an interest in free-range, sustainable farming. The farm requires a $25 deposit when reserving a Thanksgiving turkey, which will be applied to the total cost of the order. Orders are for pick-up only.
Beatrix Farm in Shenandoah County | Toms Brook, VA 22660
About an hour and a half north of Charlottesville, Beatrix Farm is home to pasture-raised turkeys whose diet of foraged goods is supplemented with non-GMO grain. Dave and Regina Farinholt began the farm almost a decade ago and this year they are also offering Muscovy duck for Thanksgiving orders if you are interested in branching out. Reservations are required and the fresh, not frozen, turkeys are available as early as November 19.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and may your table be graced with all that our local agriculture has to offer!