Turkey time is quickly approaching! If there's still no word on your bird, consider a locally raised heritage turkey from Maude's Market (4219 Virginia Avenue; 314-353-4219) for the dinner table this year. Maude's Market, a year-old shop in up-and-coming south-city neighborhood Dutchtown, provides fresh local farm products year round, including staple items in addition to unique specialty products. So what exactly makes a heritage turkey a heritage turkey?
According to owner Maude Bauschard, the heritage lineage of turkeys was bred 100 to 150 years ago specifically for taste, show, feathers or thriftiness because they required less feed. While they are relatively easy to raise on a family farm, they are not as commercially viable because they take time to raise, and they put on weight slowly. The American market's most familiar breed, the broad breasted turkey, gets big and fat quickly, but it's bred more so for their ability to put on weight rather than their taste. Simply put, heritage turkeys are better than your average holiday bird and pack quite a flavorful punch.
"It's like the difference between having a tomato grown in Chile during the middle of our winter and shipped up here as opposed to a tomato from your back yard," says Bauschard.
The heritage turkeys come from several different farms in the Missouri and Illinois area, have had access to pasture and never received any hormone or antibiotic-laced feed. Heritage turkeys, including bourbon red, royal palm, chocolate and midget white breeds, cost $7.50 per pound and range between eight and fifteen pounds once dressed. Maude's Market also offers free-range broad breasted white turkeys for families needing larger turkeys at $4.35 per pound.
"Most frozen turkeys might've been processed several months ago, so it's often recommended to brine them in salt water so they don't dry out during cooking. These heritage turkeys are so fresh, that they stay juicy all on their own -- they don't even need to be brined," says Bauschard.
For more information on how to get your hands on a local heritage turkey this season, visit the Maude's Market website , call 314-353-4219 or stop by the storefront during its regular business hours: Wednesday from 2 to 6 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A $50 deposit must be submitted by Thursday, November 17, so hurry before the birds fly the coop!
If you're itching to see what else Maude's Market has to offer this Thanksgiving, check out "Healthy Cooking with Locally Grown Ingredients," at Thomas Dunn (3113 Gasconade Avenue; 314-353-3050) this Saturday, November 19, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. to learn how to cook apple- and squash stew using local, seasonal ingredients. Head chef Michelle Blodget demonstrates the simple soup while explaining the benefits of cooking with fresh, local produce. The cost for the class is $10. RSVP by calling 314-353-3050.