Some Consumers Opt for “Designer” Turkeys

Some of these birds carry price-tags up to $150

The turkeys on many tables this Thanksgiving may be a pricier but healthier bird than in past years. Many customers are being more particular, weighing how natural their turkey is with how much it will cost them.

Dan Bowman, like many this Thanksgiving eve, picked up the turkey Wednesday he will be cooking for the holiday. It's not your typical store-bought kind, but a farm-fresh version he specifically sought out at the Farmers Market on Fairfax Avenue.

"Fresh and minimal, there are no artificial ingredients," Bowman said when asked what he looks for when buying his turkey.

"There were only a couple of turkeys in LA that I found that met my qualifications -- that it led a happy life before it died and that it's eating good food," said Patty Reed, another Farmers Market Poultry customer.

Reed went online to do research before purchasing her bird for just over $47. It is a 12-pounder from Sonora, Calif.-based Diestel Turkey Ranch, where the animals are fed a diet of corn, soybeans and are free of hormone and growth stimulants found in many standard frozen turkeys.

Reed does not mind paying a little more for her turkey but has a limit.  She saw one turkey selling for $170.


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"It's a special day. I hardly ever eat it. I don't mind paying more at all," Reed added.
The cost for a turkey free from the hormones and antibiotics found in most standard frozen birds may not be that significant, according to employees at Farmers Market Poultry.
"It's like a dollar or two difference on price than the regular turkeys and free range," Andres Barrera said.
Whole Foods Markets has seen an increase in organic turkey sales, reportedly tripling in the last three years.  Online and mail order turkey distributor, Heritage Foods USA, is sold out of their naturally, farm grown birds with prices starting at $72. Sales are up there 82-percent.
A spokesperson tells us the no-processed meat tastes better, and customers like Bowman agree: "Yes definitely, I think you can" (tell the difference in taste)," Bowman said.

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