Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Talkin' Turkey

with Lisa

Come on, Mary Ann….posting a picture of a hunky, half-naked guy on our brand-new blog? That’s really hitting below the belt! (Sorry, I just had to do it!) It just goes to show that you never know when something completely random (and possibly inappropriate) might appear here, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled! (Just so you know, we’re also partial to cute dogs. Hmmmm….Hugh Jackman cuddling a peek-a-poo? Now that’s an idea!)

All kidding aside, I have a very serious subject on my mind today. What is it? Here’s a hint: gobble, gobble. Yep, we’re talkin’ turkey here. Well, turkey sex. Actually, the lack thereof. Did I hear you say “huh???” Don’t worry I’ll explain.

Okay, here goes. Did you know that the Broad-Breasted White—99% of the turkeys Americans eat are of this breed—can’t reproduce without human intervention? Yep, it's true. The mating gene has been bred right out of the poor deprived gobblers, necessitating artificial insemination (now, no turkey baster jokes, please) of the poor gal turkeys to ensure that we have little gobblers to grow up to grace next year’s Thanksgiving table.

Not only that, but they’ve been bread to have breasts even Dolly Parton would envy— a uniboob so humungous that the poor birds can no longer walk by the time they’re a year old—they’re so off-balance they topple over! Truth be told, they’ve hit the chopping block before that happens, so it doesn’t really matter, right??

Are we the only people who think this is really messed up?? What do you think?

Anyway, the bottom line is this: The good old-fashioned turkeys that our grandparents ate—known as heirloom breeds---have all but disappeared.

It's a shame, I know.......but a girl’s gotta eat, right? So, I set off in search of the next-best thing: broad-breasted whites that are raised with care. My search led me to DiPaola’s Turkey Farm in Hamilton, NJ, about 15 minutes from downtown Princeton. They’ve been producing all-natural whole turkey and turkey products since 1948. There’s a small store on the premises with a lot of products to choose from, but the days/hours are limited, so if you’re interested in going, give them a call first (see below).

I tried their turkey—in breast, ground and sausage form. It’s really good!

Unfortunately, you won’t find DiPaola's products at any New Jersey farmers’ markets. Why? Well, DiPaola’s owner, Art DiPaola (a 2nd generation turkey guy) informed me that NJ folks just aren’t willing to pay the price for his superior turkey items, so he only sets up shop at farm markets in New York City where, he notes, people "appreciate our products.” In fact that’s where I discovered DiPaola's—at 65th street and Broadway, to be exact. (It’s worth the price, by the way).

Ok, time to wrap up this turkey of a post. But before I do so, I’ll leave you with this:

Fascinating turkey talk is just a sampling of what you’ll discover in the eye-opening book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,” by the respected fiction writer Barbara Kingsolver. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in learning about the food we eat and where it comes from. It might just revolutionize how you look at food and will definitely influence the choices you make in your local supermarket.

Well, that's all for today, folks. More about turkeys (including a possible heirloom sighting in Hunterdon County!!!) another time. Stay tuned!

DiPaola Turkey Farm, 883 Edinburg Road, Hamilton (609) 587-9311.

1 comment:

Chews Your Food! said...

Turned-off turkeys, uniboobs!!! sounds like sci-fi to me. This stuff can't be good for you. Even if don't give a darn about the turkeys and "our humanity", the heirloom turkey and it's more humane existence makes for a better tasting bird.

Don't get me started! So if you don't care about the turkeys or the flavor, What about the poor farm workers! The turkey sex wranglers, who manually extract and inseminate 600 birds per hour!! Here's another good read THE WAY WE EAT: WHY OUR FOOD CHOICES MATTER By Peter Singer and Jim Mason These guys worked undercover and wrangled turkeys.

There are things we can do, like pay a visit to the turkey farm, shop your local farmers market, share an heirloom turkey with your family on Thanksgiving. Just a few baby steps....