How to Choose the Best Turkey for Your Holiday Meal

Jacqueline Klecak

Certified Humane: Farms that earn this certification must undergo frequent inspections and adhere to strict requirements for the turkey’s food and water supply, healthcare (no growth hormones are permitted), and housing.

Free Range: This USDA-regulated term indicates that the birds had continuous free access to the outdoors at least 51 percent of the time.

Heritage: These are older breeds of turkeys that are more like wild varieties than the typical mass-market bird. They’re also raised more ethically—generally allowed to graze, eat, and mate naturally.

Local: These turkeys are bought from nearby farms—either directly or through a supermarket—and are often fresher because they have not traveled as far to get to the store.

USDA Certified Organic: Turkeys displaying this seal come from farms that have undergone a strict third-party evaluation to ensure that they don’t use synthetic chemicals or GMOs.

Once you choose the best turkey for your holiday meal, try our Roasted Herb Turkey recipe.

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