Obviously the biggest purchase to make was the turkey. There are plenty of other people more knowledgeable and articulate about why buying a local, pasture-raised heritage turkey that have written articles like this and that. I was happy to find out that Jim from Pampero Ranch in Sunol was raising pasture-raised heritage turkeys for Thanksgiving. On Sundays at the Mountain View farmers' market, I buy a lot of the grass-fed beef we consume from Jim and I have been hoping to check out his ranch in Sunol (I have an open invitation from Jim but just haven't found the time). So it was great to know that I could buy a local, pasture-raised turkey from someone that I know and trust. I was a little late to the game in ordering my turkey in early October but I was lucky that Jim had been raising a bunch of turkeys and I could still place an order.
Other than having food that would be good to think as well as good to eat, it was not that transcendent of an experience. At the same time, there were little things about the experience that I appreciated that were different from just purchasing a bird from Safeway, or even Whole Foods.
- Every week at the farmers' market, I could ask Jim about how things were going with the birds. He could tell me about the trials and tribulations of raising birds (along with their longhorns, buffalo and egg-laying hens).
- Jim hosted an event at his ranch where buyers could take part in the "harvesting" of the birds if they wanted to have that connection with their food. I was not able to make it, but it was interesting to have that option.
- I had originally wanted a smaller 12-15 lb turkey, but Jim mentioned in early November that the birds were growing bigger and faster than he thought. So Jim told us that if we wanted a smaller bird, we would have to take it in early November (since he didn't have room in his freezer to store it). I ended up opting to pick up later so I wouldn't have to store the bird our freezer for as long, so the birds grew larger and we ended up getting a 18 lb turkey.
All in all, it was an interesting experience that I look forward to repeating next year.