Thankful for pasture-raised turkey from Hebron Farms

Hebron Farms turkeys

This day was bound to come. I knew that someday I’d have to muster up all my foodie courage and fortitude to plan and make a whole turkey and Thanksgiving meal. The last two years I didn’t even consider making a whole turkey. Instead our families enjoyed the super excellent smoked turkey breast from DC Meats, which is a wonderful choice — the meat is moist and memorably delicious, and SUPER easy, as all the work’s already been done.

But that just won’t do this year.

Really, what kind of food blogger has never made a whole thanksgiving turkey? Me. But I’m ready to change that. Several times this month this particular recipe for Beer Brined Turkey from The Beeroness blogger has taunted me over and over again, so I finally ordered a turkey from Hebron Farms, and will be picking up my fresh, pasture-raised bird Wednesday at Purple Porch Co-op.

Michelle Hebron explained to me by email that their 400 white and heritage breed turkeys (available year round) are raised on green pastures about 45 minutes north in Vandalia, Michigan. She and her husband Chris Hebron have been raising turkeys for 10 years on their 30-acre farm with their four children where they also produce pastured eggs, beef, pork, chicken, and lamb all year and vegetables in season.

Hebron Farms catte

When fresh, green pasture isn’t available, they feed the animals non-gmo grain from a local farmer. According to Edible Michiana, the farm has been in the Hebron family for nearly 170 years and Chris has been raising grass-fed heritage highland cattle for about 30 years. The article from edible Michiana also mentioned that Hebron Farm uses the Joel Salatin method of moveable pens for pasturing their chickens.

And all of that is really important to me. I want to support local producers that practice sustainable, life-giving farming techniques. And it’s almost Thanksgiving. I’m so thankful for our local producers like Hebron Farms!

I asked Michele what she loves about farming this way — It’s a satisfying experience, “Knowing that I am raising a superior, healthy product then what is normally available, and supplying to customers who are appreciative.”

Most turkeys you’ll see in the grocery store are raised in confined feeding operations, where animals are in tight quarters and not fed appropriate diets. But pasture-raised turkeys, like the ones from Hebron Farms, get to forage for appropriate food and thus build up more vitamin E, C and Omega 3s, so they’re not only healthier, they most certainly will taste better.

Michelle told me, “Our customers claim our turkeys have a deeper richer flavor.” And when I asked her how her family likes to prepare turkey, she said, “We have tried deep frying, grilling and brining, but we prefer traditional roasting in our family. We have a customer that gets three turkeys annually and prepares each one differently.”

I’d like to sit in at that Thanksgiving dinner — 3 experimental turkeys every year! I could use some turkey preparation pointers from that family, but looks like I’m about to learn from experience just next week.

If you haven’t already ordered a turkey, there’s still time to get a healthy, pasture-raised turkey from Hebron Farms. You can order by email at hebronfarms@gmail.com. Turkeys cost $3.90/pound and can be picked up at Purple Porch Co-op (123 Hill Street, South Bend, IN) on Wednesday.

Several local businesses are supplied at times by Hebron Farms: Purple Porch Co-op, Fiddlers Hearth, Century Center and Rein Juicery; but you can always contact them by email to order or get details on their vegetable CSA program.

Find Heebron Farms online:

Hebron Farms on Facebook

Website coming soon