Turkey time

By Laura Johnson

How to localize your Thanksgiving feast

How to localize your Thanksgiving feast

There’s a wide selection of farms and vendors in the Lansing area offering Thanksgiving turkeys that ORGANIC are fresh (not frozen), all natural (no use of antibiotics or hormones), certified organic and/or free range. Knowing that your food was grown locally, humanely and healthfully is something to be thankful for — and allows you to support your local farmers and businesses.

Below is a roundup of some the Lansing area’s key turkey pick-up locations. The information box at the end has price-perpound information and sizes available.

The Better Health Store

Better Health took orders for freerange Amish turkey this year but the cutoff date has passed. It does, however, have an in-store frozen option: Mary’s Free Range Turkeys are certified organic from a family-owned and operated farm in California.

The Better Health Store, 305 N. Clippert St., Lansing. (517) 332-6892, thebetterhealthstore.com.

Cornwell’s Turkeyville

If you’re up for a bit of a drive, Cornwell’s Turkeyville has preservative-free fresh turkeys for $3.99/pound, ranging from 13-37 pounds, on a first-come, firstserve basis beginning tomorrow. The freerange turkeys are raised on a nearby farm.

With their restaurant, ice cream parlor, gift shops and theater, it could make for a nice family day trip.

Cornwell’s Turkeyville, 18935 15 Mile Road, Marshall. (269) 781-4293, turkeyville.com.

East Lansing Food Cooperative

ELFCO takes advance orders for fresh, all natural turkeys from Tom Otto Turkey Farm (details below). While the cutoff date was Nov. 17, it’s worth it to check to see if there are still some available as each year ELFCO orders extras.

East Lansing Food Cooperative, 4960 Northwind Dr., East Lansing. (517) 337-1266, elfco.coop/wp.

Foods for Living

Foods for Living offers fresh Bell & Evans turkeys from Pennsylvania. You can choose an all-natural turkey for $2.79 per pound or a certified organic turkey for $4.35 per pound. All turkeys were raised indoors in a “modern, clean barn” with space to roam. The organic turkeys ate allorganic feed, but both birds are antibiotic free and had an all-vegetable diet.

Foods for Living, 2655 E. Grand River, East Lansing. (517) 324-9010, foodsforliving.com.

Horrocks Farm Market

Starting this week, Horrocks has fresh turkeys ranging in a variety of sizes and options. Call to reserve one, or stop by the store.

Horrocks Farm Market, 7420 W. Saginaw Hwy., Lansing. (517) 323-3782, shophorrocks.com.

Mert’s Specialty Meats

Mert’s offers Amish turkeys delivered fresh from Indiana that are hormone- and antibiotic-free. Mert’s has placed its seasonal order already, but a few sizes might still be available. It also sells separate turkey breasts, wings and drumsticks.

Mert’s Specialty Meats, 1870 W. Grand River Ave., Okemos. (517) 574-5014, mertsspecialtymeats.com.

Monticello’s Market and Butcher Block

This year Monticello’s is offering frozen, all natural turkeys from Jaindl Turkey Farms in Pennsylvania. These birds were raised on an all-vegetable diet and no antibiotics and, according to Jaindl’s website, were “allowed free range access.”

Monticello’s Market and Butcher Block, 16912 Marsh Road, Haslett. (517) 339-9670, facebook.com/ monticellosmarketandbutcherblock.

Rural Route 5 Farm

Phil Smith describes his family’s all natural turkeys as “true free range.” The birds were not given medications or hormones and ate a pasture-based diet supplemented with some grain, which Smith says helps give his turkeys their distinctive taste. This year the Smiths raised about 50 birds; most are already spoken for, but it’s worth calling to check. They also offer deliveries to the Lansing area.

Rural Route 5 Farm, 4707 E. Price Road, St. Johns.

(989) 314-3018.

Spartan Country Meats

Another fresh option from a local farm. Christine Miller and her family raise and process their turkeys themselves. The birds ate a pasture and grain diet and were never given hormones or antibiotics. Miller says her customers give her turkeys rave reviews. She added that fresh turkeys take less time to cook than frozen birds.

Spartan Country Meats, Webberville. (517) 375- 6337, spartancountrymeats.com.

Tom’s Market

Like ELFCO, Tom’s Market offers fresh, all-natural turkeys raised on Tom Otto’s Turkey Farm in Middleville. Orders are being accepted through Friday, and the birds will be delivered on Monday. $2.99/ pound, 15-28 pounds.

Tom’s Market, 1619 W. Grand River Ave., Okemos.

(517) 488-0600.

Tom Otto Turkey Farm

While Otto turkeys are offered ELFCO and Tom’s Market, for some it’s more fun to make the hour-long drive out to the farm.

“For some people it’s a real tradition come out,” Tom Otto said. “They can go see the turkeys if they want. It’s like going get the Christmas tree.”

Otto and his wife raise their turkeys open-air, free-range barns. The birds are free of antibiotics and growth hormones, and most of the feed is grown on site.

“It’s a homegrown bird,” Otto said. “You know where it came from.”

He added that a major advantage fresh birds is that they aren’t injected with needles like frozen “pre-basted” turkeys. Otto’s turkeys are are mostly in the 15 21 pound range, but there are smaller and larger birds available. Otto recommends pound per person. For smaller gatherings, Tom’s offers separate turkey breasts, wings and drumsticks as well.

Tom Otto Turkey Farm, 7640 W. State Road, Middleville. (269) 795-3738, ottosturkeyfarm.com.