AVAILABILITY & PRICING
Liberty Family Farms offers pasture-raised turkeys for Thanksgiving dinner. The birds roamed freely in a fenced pasture next to a small brook that wanders the property. If you stopped by the farmstand this summer, you will remember them behind the old barn where our egg-laying chickens keep them company in the next yard. Fed on healthful grains with supplemental vegetables from the farmstead at the end of the day, our turkeys have bigger weights and a better taste. No antibiotics, animal by-products, hormones or additive are used. The flock is limited in number; so reserve early.
Order your turkey at 413-426-6636.
For more information:
Call or text 413-426-6636
2023 PICK UP HOURS
1099 Center Street, Ludlow, MA
Sat 11/18 = 10am-5pm
Sun 11/19 = 10am-5pm
Mon 11/20 = 10am-5pm
Tue 11/21 = 10am-5pm
+ $10 processing
+ $15 processing
+ $15 processing
31+ lb $3.75/lb
+ $20 processing
No credit cards
NAKED TURKEY FLAVOR
Liberty turkeys are farmed-raised and run around a pasture all day, so they have more meat but less fat than commerical farm birds. They are also minimally processed. We don't inject them with solutions or tenderizing treatments to improve them — they are good as they are.
As a result, a light dusting of salt and pepper, inside and out, is all it takes to bring out the natural flavors within. Our bird releases real juices into the pan without a flood of water to dilute it all. They release less liquid than you would expect, especially if you cook the giblets separately.
For crispy skin, cover the exterior with a thin layer of neutral-flavor cooking oil or spray. The oils raise the surface temperature of the skin higher than the boiling point of water. This is the magic moment when browning starts to occur.
BRINING WET OR DRY
By their nature, turkeys have more flavor than chicken but less than beef. If you are looking for a more rounded flavor, consider brining the bird before cooking. The key to this technique is room in your refrigerator for a day before cooking begins.
Both techniques take about 16 to 24 hours to complete. Any longer and you run the risk of a salt-heavy taste. You will need about 1 cup of kosher salt. If you use normal table salt, use half as much because the tiny crystal size means a lot more gets rubbed into the meat.
Pat bird dry and rub salt generously around the exterior and interior. You want to rub in between the wings, the legs and all the nooks and crannies you can find. Afterwards, place into a bowl large enough to hold it.
Place the bowl into the fridge with an open top. The advantage to this technique is extra-crispy skin because the air flow in the fridge dries it out. Meanwhile, the salt draws juices out of the bird, mixes with it, then the meat reabsorbs it where the flavor counts.
This technique dissolves equal amounts of salt and sugar into the water, about one cup per gallon. Place the bird into the bowl, cover with water. If you are worried about splashes, you can also place the bird in a very large freezer bag, fill that with water, then place it all in the bowl.
From here, move it into the fridge and leave for about 16 to 24 hours. Drain and rinse about an hour before cooking, pat dry, then return to the fridge without cover to prepare the skin.
Sugar works better here because the molecule is larger and water helps to transport the sugars to where they need to be. In a dry brine, the sugar would mostly cling to the outer skin and scorch under the long heat.
SOME OVEN TIPS
Go Slow at 325°F
Turkeys over 15 lbs benefit from a slow roast technique. The heat gets inside the meat before the exterior drys out, avoiding a major holiday faux pax. Our larger birds are well-fed, so a patient cook is rewarded with a richer flavor and juicier bites.
Schedule Half a Day or Better to Oven Time
We recommend about 12 minutes in the oven per pound of bird (about 3 to 4 hours for our small 15lbs hens and 6-7 hours for the really big 35lbs toms). Bear in mind that oven temperatures vary widely, so these time estimates are there to get you into the ball park.
Test Your Oven First
Ovens are notoriously sloppy in reporting their temperatures. Even if 350° is dead accurate (and maybe it isn't), the same oven can be off at 325°. It's best if you preheat the oven for 30 minutes with an oven-safe thermometer before the turkey goes in. Measure twice, bake once, as the saying goes.
A Meat Thermometer Is the Voice of Authority
For a home run, use a meat thermometer. It is the final word on whether the turkey is ready or not. Insert the probe where the meat is the thickest, the breast or the thigh, and don’t let it touch bone. Keep it in place during the whole cooking process.
When the probe reads 165°/breast or 175°/thigh, take out the bird. It doesn’t matter if the bird is stuffed or not because the meat needs to cross that line. Let the turkey rest on the counter for about 30 minutes to let the flavor really develop. The internal temperature will continue to rise another 10°F; but, more importantly, the bird will re-absorbed the roasted/seasoned juices and the flavor will bloom inside the meat. For the big birds, the heat loss is slower and so is the re-absorption, so the wait is closer to 45 to 60 minutes before you carve.
The Role of Convection Heating
If you have convection heating, our birds will cook about 20% faster, but at the cost of drying out the breast. If you like to baste your bird, this isn’t a problem. You can coat the skin with butter or oil to retain some of that moisture. However, if you tend to crank out dry meats, you don’t want the convection option turned on. Better to keep that moistness inside the bird and slow-cook it into tender tastiness.
WOODLAND HERBAL STYLE
The herbs to use with turkeys are the herbaceous ones like oregano, rosemary and thyme. These herbs have woody stems and thicker leaves, so they stand up well to the hours of baking a turkey goes through. Fresh is best because the herbs are well hydrated, take a long time to dry out, and release their oils slowly over time. By the time the turkey is done, these herbs are charred and flavorful. Tender herbs like chives and parsley would be burnt and bitter.
The best way to attach these herbs to the bird is through oils. Rough chop the herb sprigs and mix them into a cup of oil or melted butter. Then slather the mix on and under the skin. Be sure to coat the interior cavity as well. The herbs will roast on the inside, adding a different layer of flavor to the mix.
Dried commerical herbs don't work as well because they are dried out and ground leaves. What little moisture they have leaves early in the baking process and they turn bitter if the high heat is on them too long.
GREAT SOUP BONES
If you make soup afterwards, you will discover another great aspect of our pasture-raised turkey: high-protein, gelatin-rich stock. Soups and stews become extra silky and more nutritious with our bones as a stock base.
We roast our leftover bones for about 30 minutes at 350°, then simmer them in a slow cooker for the day. Once the bones are sieved out and the broth cools, it congeals because it is so high in gelatin. Store in the fridge or freezer until needed.
Just to let folks know that, after Thanksgiving, we will begin to sell our balsam Christmas trees for the season. Trimmed into a pyramid shape, Balsams are like the typical tree you’d find in an American home in the 1970's or 1980's. There are no gaps in the branches so any lights or popcorn strings you drape around the tree are equally supported all the way around. Branches and needles are tightly spaced.