Christmas is coming, and so is the task of making Christmas dinner. This year, when you’re looking for the perfect turkey to serve your family, skip the grocery store and head to the nearest farm. Don’t just take it from me; there are many reasons to buy a local Ontario turkey. For starters, you know you’re getting higher quality meat, which is antibiotic and hormone free as a result of the animal’s healthy, non-GMO diet. You’ll also be getting a turkey that was raised in fields free of chemicals, and although everything is done naturally, when the time comes, the meat is professionally processed under government inspection. Did I mention that it’s surprisingly easy to find a fresh, organic turkey in your own community? Now that you’re on board, here are seven local farms in the Bay of Quinte region that provide all of the above:
The Kirkland family is proud to offer a variety of heritage turkeys, including Bourbon Red and Broad Breasted Bronze, and although these breeds take longer to mature than commercial varieties, it is entirely worth the wait. There’s a great deal of comfort in knowing exactly how your food is being produced, so customers are welcome to tour the farm and ask questions.
28 Woods Road, Madoc | 613-473-2832
These turkeys are naturally raised (and sold) by the Clement family on their farm in Newcastle, but you can also find their products at their secondary store between Brighton and Trenton on Fridays. This business has been family owned and operated for over 60 years, so you know it’s a name you can trust.
15617 Highway #2, Brighton | 613-922-7291
Located in the rolling hills of Northumberland County, this small family farm and retail store is open daily to serve your needs. The McCormick’s raise quality pastured pork, beef and poultry the old fashioned way, including their heritage turkeys.
1107 James Road, Campbellford | 705-653-5069
David & Andrea Germain had a dream to move from the big city and begin producing their own healthy alternatives to what was available in stores, and that’s exactly what they did by opening a free-range poultry farm. They say that allowing their chickens and turkeys to enjoy exercise everyday makes for meat that is incredibly tender, juicy and full of flavour.
117 Hall Settlement Road, Plainfield | 613-477-3079
Owen and Jackie Harder live off the grid, in an energy efficient home, on 50 acres of farmland. While draft horses are their primary specialty, they also sell vegetables, farm fresh eggs, beef, chickens, and of course, turkeys. Environmentally friendly folks will appreciate their fine food and efforts towards sustainability.
1119 Tuftsville Road, Stirling | 613-395-1855
Michael and Sally Knight have been pasture raising organic Orlopp Bronze turkeys from birth to maturity since 2009. They are passionate about providing a humane lifestyle for their animals, so rather than buying a turkey that came from confined conditions, you can be certain that these turkeys spent their days enjoying the freedom of lush pastures.
507 Maple Road, Stirling | 613-395-4440
Judy and Larry Kupecz run an herbicide and pesticide free farm, where they raise turkeys, sheep, chickens, and pheasants. All of the animals are available for public viewing, and visitors are invited to further browse their market garden and orchard, both of which provide an abundance of fruits and vegetables.
312 Wellmans Road, Stirling | 613-395-4491
Raising poultry in a sustainable and ethical manner is no easy task, so I encourage you to show support for our hardworking local farmers. I’m sure you’ll find that fresh air, sunshine, and plenty of room to move around makes for impossibly delicious turkey. It’s important to note that these birds sell out quickly this time of year, so place an order with your farm of choice as soon as possible to secure one for your holiday meal. Happy feasting!