Grassfed Turkey Cooking Tips from Shannon Hayes

Thinking of cooking a grass-fed turkey for Thanksgiving?

Just in time for the holidays, grassfed cooking expert and farmer Shannon Hayes has a blog post with pastured turkey cooking and purchasing tips that you can read on her blog We’re honored to have been included in Shannon’s book Radical Homemakers.

One of her most important tips is to know what you are buying,

“If you don’t personally know the farmer who is growing your turkey, take the time to know what you are buying! “Pastured” is not necessarily the same as “free-range.” Some grass-based farmers use the word “free-range” to describe their pasture-raised birds, but any conventional factory farm can also label their birds “free-range” if they are not in individual cages, and if they have “access” to the outdoors – even if the “outdoors” happens to be feces-laden penned-in concrete pads outside the barn door, with no access to grass. “Pastured” implies that the bird was out on grass for most of its life, where it ate grass and foraged for bugs, in addition to receiving some grain”

Wishing all of you a happy, pastured holiday season.

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  1. In reading this post, I’m struck by the idea that we have to be so very careful to define what we buy; that words don’t necessarily mean anything anymore. “Grass-fed”, “pastured” and the meaningless “natural” – it makes me think how far we’ve gone (downhill?) since the days when my Grandma bought a chicken and knew that it was a real chicken – and would not have given it another thought. The sad part is that we often aren’t aware of how we have to carefully define everything that does not have its origin in our corporate-controlled society, as if “corporate-speak” is the default language and what used to be real life is now a sub-specialty requiring extra explanation.

    I have these thoughts early in the morning.

  2. –Interesting to read your distinctions about free range. I’ve always called my chickens and our turkeys free range, thinking that since they have a paddock to roam freely in, and not a small cage, that’s how I would define them.

    Sure they eat stuff while they are roaming around, but they eat a lot of organic feed too. It would be nice if we didn’t have to spend so much money on buying them food, but I don’t trust that the area they roam in provides them with enough sustenance.

  3. I’m buying my turkey for a local farm and I’ve even had to chase the herd (well flock, I guess) of turkeys out of the neighborhood a few times… perhaps this makes them even more “free range” BUT to be quite honest, I don’t think I have ever seen a turkey eating grass. Bugs? sure. Grain? definately. Grass? not so much….
    “Grass-fed turkey” seems like a misnomer to me.

  4. I think it’s kinda funny to imagine turkeys eating grass. It sucks that in some places in the winter time they only get to eat grains but what can you do. At least with a free range turkey the grains are organic. Whenever I tell my friends that I want a grass fed turkey they laugh saying there is no such thing but hey I can dream right.

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