Turkey Talk: Is Free Range Or Organic Worth It?

by in Thanksgiving, November 11, 2009

Herb-Roasted Turkey
My mom still tells the story about the year she ordered a free-range turkey. She almost choked when she went to pay for it because it was more than six times what a regular turkey cost! Now that I have Thanksgiving at my house, I’m faced with the same dilemma — is it worth it to get these extra pricey birds?

Get The Facts
The appeal of free-range turkeys is that they are raised with access to outdoor space so they can roam — many folks believe that this makes for better tasting meat. Farmers also raise these turkeys in a more human environment (no messy, cooped-up quarters), which wins extra points with food advocates. Add to that list the fact these turkeys get fed higher quality food and farmers don’t use hormones or antibiotics on them.

As for organic turkeys, they are certified as being raised following strict parameters (though they may not be free range) and are only fed organic food. Usually free-range birds are also organic, but make sure you ask your meat provider or read the store packaging carefully.

What About a “Local” And Other Labels?
Local poultry ranches are usually smaller operations and take more care in raising their animals. Many use free-range and organic practices (even if they aren’t certified organic). If you’re interested in keeping your feast local, call up the farmer to ask for details ahead of time.

Poultry also often has other labels such as “natural,” “grass-fed” or “no added hormones” — check out our eco-friendly label decoder to help make sense of these tags.

Yes, these more specialized turkeys cost more — in many cases, A LOT more. We priced out options from various online grocery stores and the costs varied. Some turkeys were more than $10 per pound. Here’s what we found on average:

Regular turkey = $0.89-$2.99 per pound
Organic = $5.50-$6.20 per pound
Free Range = $4.59-$6.93 per pound

If getting a free-range or organic bird is important to you, you can save some money by picking a smaller size. Yes, this does mean fewer leftovers, but most people buy way more turkey than they need anyway. In this case, you’d be splurging on quality, not quantity.

What To Look For
Pay attention to the labels on fresh or frozen birds or ask your butcher or local farmer for more details. Free-range and organic turkeys are often in high demand; so if you choose to get one, you should order it now (if you haven’t already).

TELL US: What kind of turkey are you planning to get this year?

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Comments (741)

  1. Linnie says:

    I'm so happy that people are feeding our economy and believing all that crap about roaming free chickens. Are you people kidding me? Do you mean all these years of eating regular turkeys has harmed us? With the economy these days, it must be nice to spend $100 or so on a freaking turkey when people out there are starving. You sheeple will believe anything they shove down your throat, including this organic crap. How many of your parents bought that crap when you were growing up. Give me a break

  2. Triscuit says:

    We have a friend who raises turkeys. Not free range or organic, but not factory raised either. Before we started getting turkeys from him, we always purchaced locally raised, freshly killed turkeys. There is no coparison to a factory raised frozen bird, or a factory raised fresh bird. They are fed bettet, not injected with anything, ever, and are just absolutely fantastic

  3. Donnie Laios says:

    Je ne suis pas moyen de vouloir commencer par le haut, mais je veux faire les choses étape par étape si cela signifie des chances dans un meilleur avancement et aussi une carrière que je pourrais profiter de mieux qu’un travail de bureau régulier. SO! ma question principale est – quelle est la meilleure façon de commencer à ce stade actuel, si je cherche à avoir un changement dans ma carrière

  4. So stunning! I like the earthy & classic tones of the wedding! I am so stealing the succulent idea. Stunning bride, handsome hubby & bridal party. Awesome footage as always Tammy!

  5. Ketone says:

    I’m a newbie to this forum… I need useful information and suggestions abt technology amd sciemce.

  6. It’s rare knowledgeable individuals on this topic, however, you be understood as guess what happens you
    are speaking about! Thanks

  7. Ketones says:

    You have the public and I think all you shared holds true. Then you also have a smaller but maybe more active audience, fellow bloggers.

  8. Ketone says:

    Así que un poco de mí mismo. Crecí alrededor de las computadoras. Mi abuelo me enseñó los fundamentos de hardware, software, y la construcción de uno mismo. Como un bebé el 87, el 90, siempre habrá esa década dorada. Siempre he sido un jugador casual saltando adelante y atrás entre los juegos de PC y consola de juegos. Los primeros juegos que recuerdo haber jugado estaban Casa de los Horrores y el muchacho de papel de Hugo. Desafortunadamente, moverse y tener que conocer gente nueva me apartó de mi formación técnica / equipo.

  9. Ketones says:

    Excellente lecture, je viens de passer ce sur un collègue qui faisait un peu de recherche sur ce point. Et il m’a effectivement acheté le déjeuner parce que j’ai trouvé pour lui sourire Alors laissez-moi reformuler.

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