Going for the Gobbler: Where will you get your Thanksgiving turkey?
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Going for the Gobbler: Where will you get your Thanksgiving turkey?

November 15th, 2012 by Maria Helena Carey · 1 Comment · Capitol Hill, DC

Wattle, Wattle!

A majestic wild turkey… I’d rather order my wild turkey in a glass, on the rocks. Photo by Maria Helena Carey

I have two boys, each with a hollow leg, because they eat a scandalous amount despite being on the skinny side. So, knowing that a 10 pound turkey would be no match for Gobble-Dee and Gobble-Dum, I couldn’t resist the tasteful and elegant siren song of P&C Market’s Polyface Farm Turkeys.

In case you’ve never heard of Polyface Farm (I hadn’t), this is a farm that self-describes as “family-owned, multi-generational, pasture-based, beyond organic” and is located in Virginia’s Shenandoah valley. So stick that in your organic, macrobiotic, fair-trade pipe and don’t smoke it, because smoking is bad for you.

Yeah, I am bragging about this turkey because I think it will taste like meticulously-raised ambrosia. Each turkey at P&C is spoken for, except for two extras they ordered, so if you show up to the store very, very soon, you may walk away with a turkey fit for bragging.

But if you don’t make it on time, where will you get your turkey?

If you want to patron a local business that gets its turkeys from the Eastern Shore of Maryland (locavores, rejoice!) and who offers free-range, happy turkeys and chickens year-round, then the Market Poultry inside Eastern Market is the place for you. Their turkeys average in price between $2.79 and $2.89/pound. Neighbors in the know have been signing up for their Market Poultry turkeys since Halloween, according to one of the charming guys at the counter — that’s around the time I signed up for mine at P&C. You can still sign-up through this weekend, and be ready to pick up your bird on Tuesday 20th or Wednesday November 21st.

The Safeway over at 14th and Kentucky, SE, has their own-brand turkeys for $1.29, but if you use your Safeway Club Card, the price drops down to $0.59/pound. The Butterball turkey is going for $0.88/pound., according to their website. Those are pretty good deals, especially if you don’t live in the episode of “Portlandia” where the couple needs to know if their chicken was happy before it became to your dinner.

The Harris Teeter also boasts their proprietary brand turkeys for $1.29/pound, but their circular does not include a VIC Card discount. Still, that’s a pretty good price and the HT brand is slightly nicer than the Safeway brand, in my opinion.

Off-the-Hill: The obvious choices in this category are Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Giant. First off, Trader Joe’s has a good deal for those of you with smaller families, smaller stomachs, or smaller ovens, because they are offering a frozen turkey breast with cornbread stuffing for $12.99.

Whole Foods seems to be on a one-shop mission to make your Thanksgiving as pain-free and cooking-free as possible. While this may go against tradition, I have to confess I almost decided to chuck my turkey order out the window when I realized you can:

1.) Set your favorite store as a default when you’re visiting their site (I set the Foggy Bottom one as my default because I enjoy saying “Foggy Bottom” and because I like to call it the “marry a doctor” Whole Foods. It’s the little things.)

2.) Shop online and see all the store’s specials

3.) Order your turkey by fresh, ready-to-cook, and cooked categories

4.) See the picture of the lovingly-raised turkey you are going to buy right on the website. Just to give you an idea, their Fresh Organic turkey is $3.99/pound for a 10-12 pound turkey, which should feed around six. Aaaaand! They have a whole step-by-step guide to help you cook your turkey. Impressive. Now if only they were a little closer to the Hill…

Then there is Giant. Not sure how many of you make it out to a Giant — our closest one is by the Home Depot off Brentwood Road, NE, although one will be opening on H Street, NE, soon. My limited experience has taught me they have good meats. They also happen to have the best deal on a frozen turkey: $0.59/pound with a Giant Card discount — same as Safeway’s promotion with their Club Card.  They also boast that they will match any competitor’s price, so good luck finding anything cheaper than that, unless you end up buying turkey breasts only, which is practical and less involved and…. why am I baking a turkey again?

For those of you who have a lot of mouths to feed:  if you know a restaurateur, Restaurant Depot (membership only) has a turkey at the low, low price of $1.19/pound. And, there are no item count restrictions like Safeway and Giant. I’m also told you can buy wheels of cheese bigger than your head over there. Caveat, emptor.

How about Costco? The membership-only, buy-in-bulk store also has some deals when it comes to turkeys, however, you may need to line up a battalion to feed. They offer 19.5 pounds of organic turkey and chicken for $249.99?! Pass. Then again, Costco also has La Brea Bakery‘s Mexican torta-style bread. Not that you can make this particular bread into a Thanksgiving turkey, but have you tried it? It will bring tears to your eyes.

Wherever you end up buying your turkey, I wish you happy cooking and eating, but hopefully not as happy as mine.  Because at $6.00/pound, my turkey better be better than yours!

If I left out some very obvious place to shop for turkeys, please share it in the comments.

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  • http://distcurm.blogspot.com/ IMGoph

    read Michael Pollan if you want to hear more about Polyface.