This year will be the first time I've ever spent Thanksgiving apart from my family on the east coast. Since many of us "kids" have ended up here on the west coast, we'll be having our own younger generation T-day celebration here in Berkeley. And that brings me to another first - I'll be roasting my first turkey!
Naturally, I am feeling a little nervous -- after all, it's a very large bird and a crucial part of the Thanksgiving dinner. So I am planning to do two things to help ensure a delicious roasted turkey:
1. I am going to brine the turkey before I roast it. According to many sources (including Martha Stewart), brining a.k.a. soaking the bird in salt water for many hours, helps to ensure a moist, flavorful turkey. I'll write more about this soon.
2. I am going to buy the best-tasting, "happiest" bird I can find. Around here, that appears to be a Willie Bird, a free-range, organic turkey from Willie Bird Farms near Santa Rosa. I have to say that I am still recovering from the sticker shock - the smallest turkey they sell costs nearly $100! I am hoping that part of that price is the cost of them FedExing it to you and that it will be slightly cheaper to pick it up from a local grocery store.
Slow Foods USA also has a listing of heritage turkey farmers by geographical region on their web site (http://www.slowfoodusa.org/ark/turkeys.html.)
If you happen to live in Vermont, I'll save you the trouble. Below are links to the two places my Aunt Katy (the owner of Healthy Living Natural Foods market in Burlington, VT) recommended. I'd take her word for it, she's definitely done her homework.