Respect for the Bird: Where to Find Your Local, Pastured, Thanksgiving Turkey

I feel sorry for turkeys. They get no respect. For instance, the word “turkey” has become a commonly used derogatory term, as in, “You turkey!” And, whether or not it’s true, turkeys have a reputation for being so, shall we say, “intellectually challenged,” that they can drown looking up in a rain storm.  Even our esteemed founding fathers thumbed their noses at the turkey, choosing the bald eagle, instead, as the national bird. (Supposedly, the quirky Ben Franklin was the gobbler’s only advocate.)
Heritage "Bourbon Red," available at Callister's Farm in New Concord, MNHeritage "Bourbon Red," available at Callister's Farm in New Concord, MN
But every Thanksgiving, the turkey’s status is, for one day, elevated to that of national icon. The only holiday that is truly American, and is celebrated by virtually everyone, regardless of religion, ethnicity, or political persuasion, has, at its center, the turkey. (Although if Ben Franklin had gotten his way, I suppose we'd all be eating bald eagle every Thanksgiving.)

Very few of us hunt for our Thanksgiving turkeys the traditional way, with a rifle or a bow and arrow, though that is the most authentic method for acquiring a real, pasture-raised, grass-fed bird. No, most of us will be hunting for our turkeys without weapons (hopefully!), at Twin Cities area turkey farms and food stores.

Below is a list of places where you can find your perfect, plump, pastured turkey. Please keep in mind that some great turkey suppliers were, no doubt, inadvertantly left out; so if you know of any, please let us know by adding a comment.

Local Family Turkey Farms

Some Minnesota farms offer their pastured turkeys directly to the public. If you live in the “cities,” you’ll have to drive a bit to get to them, so call ahead and let them know you’re coming.

Ferndale Market
31659 County 24 Blvd.
Cannon Falls, MN 55009
(507) 263-4556

Hilltop Pastures Family Farm
26134 Jasmine Drive
Fountain, MN 55935

Callister Farm
52237 170th Avenue
West Concord, MN 55985
(507) 527-8521

Twin Cities Area Co-Ops

The following Twin Cities food co-ops offer a bountiful selection of turkeys this year. This list includes the address, phone number, and deadline for ordering a Thanksgiving turkey. (Information provided by the November/December issue of The Mix, the official publication of the Twin Cities Natural Food Co-ops.)

Show some respect for this bird!Show some respect for this bird!City Center Market
122 N. Buchanan Street, Cambridge
No deadline for ordering.

Eastside Co-Op
2551 Central Avenue, Minneapolis
No reservations, walk-in service only.

Just Food
516 S. Water Street, Northfield
No reservations, walk-in service only.

17501 Minnetonka Blvd., Minnetonka
435 Pond Promenade, Chanhassen
Order by Nov. 21

Linden Hills
2813 West 43rd Street, Minneapolis
Order by Nov. 18

Mississippi Market
622 Selby Avenue, St. Paul
1500 West 7th Street, St. Paul
651-690-0507 (both locations)
No reservations, walk-in service only.

River Market
221 North Main Street, Stillwater
Order by Nov. 20

St. Peter Co-op
119 West Broadway, St. Peter
Order by Nov. 10

Seward Co-op
2823 East Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis
Order by Nov. 13

Valley Natural Foods
13750 C.R. 11, Burnsville
952-891-1212, ext. 221
Order by Nov. 18

The Wedge
2105 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis
Order by Nov. 19

Mill City Farmers Market
Although the market is closed for the winter, you can still order a Wild Acres Thanksgiving turkey. Just send an e-mail to with your preferred size: 10-15 pounds; 15-20 pounds or 20 pounds plus. Turkeys will be available for pick-up on Monday, November 23, at Spoonriver Restaurant.

Birchwood Cafe
And last, but not least, our friend, Tracy Singleton, of the Birchwood Cafe, is also offering fresh, free-range turkeys from Wild Acres Farm. Plus, you'll get cooking instructions and helpful hints for getting the most flavor out of your bird. And, did I mention that she has a great selection of side dishes, too? Get your order in by Nov. 15 so you can pick it up on Wednesday, Nov. 25, by 8:00 p.m.