Talkin’ Turkey

~ erin molnar, assistant markets manager


Heritage breed turkeys at Tea Hills Farms. Photo by Cara Tipton


Last year I had the opportunity to take part in almost every phase of the Thanksgiving turkey process – from meeting them when they were only a day old, to feeding them, to moving their shelter so they had fresh forage, to chatting with them while harvesting, to the eventual slaughter and processing, and finally the cooking and eating. This level of involvement was a first for me, as was a local turkey in general. (NOTE: I had not previously been responsible for T-Day turkey acquisition.) So, I obviously felt more of a connection and level of appreciation for my meal last Thanksgiving, both leading up to it and when it was time for the eating. My family, on the other hand, thought it was great and all that I knew the turkey and was somewhat doubtful that I was actually involved in the killing and cleaning part. BUT all of their ambivalence faded away when they tasted that bird. RAVE REVIEWS!!! BEST TURKEY EVER!!! They thought I was the turkey-cooking-whisperer. (First turkey cooking experience as well…) I am not a slouch in the kitchen, but I am also not the TCW – the tastiness of the turkey was all due to how it was raised, how fresh it was and that lack of post-processing chemicals. (Commercial poultry is often sanitized post-processing via a chlorine bath, or another type of disinfecting solution.)

That was my long-winded way of saying – if you want to serve the best Thanksgiving meal, a local turkey (preferably purchased directly from the source) is the way to go. Here are some options to procure your very own Turkey-Cooking-Whisperer title.

Brunty Farms

“A bird from Brunty Farms is sure to be the highlight of your holiday meal. They receive a lot of love and we take great pride in the animals we raise. Feel free to drive by the farm and see the turkeys roaming out in the fields! From day old until processing time, the turkeys are under our care.”

Breed: Broad Breasted White

Husbandry: All of the turkeys are raised on pasture consuming roughly 30% of their diet by foraging clover, grasses, weed seeds and insects. They also like to consume any other treat they can find – crab apples and garden scraps, especially tomatoes! The remainder of their diet is made up of all non-GMO whole grains from local farmers.

Slaughter and processing: All poultry is processed directly at Brunty Farms right before the holiday. This ensures a stress free animal and gives 100% quality control with the final product.

Ordering: Orders can be places via the website, directly at the farm, or at the Countryside Conservancy Farmers’ Market.  Contact Melanie at or 330.594.7315 with any questions.

Note: Select turkey cuts (breast, tenders, drumsticks and wings) are available now in the farm store (open Tues-Sat 9am-8pm) or at the Countryside Conservancy Farmers’ Market. Fresh chickens will also be available for 4-5 more weeks.

Schmidt Family Farms

Offering turkeys and duck.

Husbandry: Feed and pasture certified organic.

Slaughter and processing: Onsite, the week before Thanksgiving.

Ordering: For turkeys, contact Shawn Toth at 216.536.1227. For duck, contact Susan Schmidt at 330.239.2325.

Note: Frozen broiler chickens also available. Ducks not sold fresh for Thanksgiving will be available frozen for Christmas.

Halko’s Spring Hill Farm

Breed: Broad Breasted White

Husbandry: Pasture raised, with supplemental feed containing no animal by-products.

Slaughter and processing: Onsite, the week before Thanksgiving.

Ordering: Contact Alan Halko at 330.523.0590 or see him at the Countryside Conservancy Farmers’ Market.

Pick-up: Tuesday, November 26th at 9570 Riverview Rd., Brecksville.

Tea Hills Farms

Breeds: Broad Breasted White, Broad Breasted Bronze, Bourbon Red, Blue Slate, Heritage Bronze

Husbandry: Turkeys graze certified organic pastures and exploring wooded areas. They are fed an all natural diet free of antibiotics and genetically modified feed.

Ordering: At the Countryside Conservancy Farmers’ Market or the Tea Hills Farms website.

Pick-up: Available the week before Thanksgiving at the Countryside Conservancy Farmers’ Market at Old Trail School or at any of several convenient locations listed on the website







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