Often times, we do not give much thought to what we are actually eating. If it is on sale, convenient, well marketed and looks good – we throw it in our grocery cart. In our naivety and ignorance, we can actually be putting dangerous, unhealthy substances into our bodies and those of our loved ones to save money and time. This year, when you choose a turkey to grace your holiday table, please consider the following:
Do you want arsenic in your turkey? Commercial turkey farmers pump their birds with many drugs that help fight infections, but that are not healthy for the consumers. Nitarsone is a common drug administered to turkeys the first few weeks of their lives and during the summer months to hopefully prevent blackhead, a disease that is fatal to turkeys. Turkeys that have been given this drug store organic arsenic in their organs and meat, and those levels have been shown to increase when cooked.
Do you want antibiotics in your turkey? The US government has gone on the record as saying that 81% of the ground turkey recently tested is contaminated with antibiotic resistant bacteria. This is the result of administering a variety of antibiotics to grow larger birds in less time using less feed. The primary reason for this common practice is not to keep the birds healthy – it is to increase profit for the farmers because it keeps the cost down. The National Turkey Federation testified before Congress that turkeys raised without antibiotics would cost at least $1 per pound more than their drugged counterparts.
Do you want a turkey that was raised inhumanely? Fast growth production does lead to higher profits for the turkey farmers, but also leads to an unhealthy environment for the turkeys. Crowded conditions, artificially fast growth spurts and increased drug consumption leads to physical breakdowns of bones, muscle and organs in many turkeys. Broken legs, dislocated hips, arthritis, lesions and poor coloring and meat quality are all direct results of the current practices. Three of the largest turkey producers — Butterball, Aviagen or House of Raeford – have all been prosecuted in recent years for cruelty to the birds they raise.
If you answered “NO!” to any of the above questions, you have alternatives! Pasture fed, free range, and organic turkeys are available to you, but you will pay more because they were not drugged and forced to grow faster and bigger than mother nature ever intended in commercially overcrowded, filthy warehouses. They were raised outdoors in a healthier, more caring environment by small farmers who have their best interests, and yours, at heart. This year, Hook and Cleaver Market (919-577-3900) is offering organic turkeys for $4.99/lb, Whole Foods in Cary has online pre-orders for them for about $4 per pound, and most other grocery stores will have limited supplies of them available as we get closer to Thanksgiving. For next year, if you would like to support a local farm, you will have to plan ahead and pre- order in late summer/early fall because they sell out quickly. Consider contacting Little River Eco Farm, Erwin NC (910-890-0353) or Walk Ahead Farm, Louisburg NC (919-480-0719) to reserve your delicious, healthy turkey.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://thecommunitymarketcoop.coop/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/blog-photo-e1444308911600.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Colleen Williams moved to Apex from Maryland in 1991, was widowed in 2003 and moved to Fuquay Varina 10 years ago with her new husband, Myers. She has 5 grown children, 2 grown step-children and together they share 9 grandchildren. Colleen wanted to get more involved with the community now that she has time since retiring from 40 years as a high school math teacher, and because she and her husband enjoy eating the food they grow and the eggs their chickens provide, the Community Market Co-Op seemed like a great place to get involved![/author_info] [/author]