Years ago, my mother-in-law would roast wild game for Thanksgiving dinner. Each year was a little different---wild goose, turkey, or pheasant---depending on what my father-in-law had successfully hunted that fall. I suspect this is how our forbears celebrated Thanksgiving, serving whatever had been harvested.
Each year, millions of turkeys are raised in industrial conditions for consumption at the holidays. The birds have been bred for extra large breasts, so large that they may not even be able to stand up. They are grown quickly in very crowded conditions, and fed genetically modified corn and soy products. Not surprisingly, they don't taste anything like wild game or pasture raised birds.
Last year we decided to support a local turkey farmer. We placed an order for a pastured raised heritage breed turkey, and I drove 20 miles to the small market to pick up the bird. I seem to recall that it cost five or six dollars a pound, so even a small turkey was a hefty $50. The flavor was pretty fabulous.
This year we're hosting a larger crowd and we simply can't afford to purchase a heritage breed turkey large enough for the family. But I also couldn't bring myself to buy an industrial bird. We found a compromise at the local grocery store---a frozen turkey grown by an organic farm cooperative. It's not quite as local as last year's bird, but at $3.99 a pound, I can afford it and still support a farmer in my state.
Before you buy a Thanksgiving turkey, I urge you to ponder all your options. Happy Thanksgiving!