It’s Time To Talk Turkey

Posted by on Oct 17, 2016 in Calf Chronicles

Fall is upon us and at The Fatted Calf we are starting to get excited about Thanksgiving. We are dreaming up a delicious Katz honey glazed ham, mulling over wild mushrooms to stuff roasts and fold into our pâtés and preparing for the arrival of succulent heritage turkeys from Good Shepherd Ranch. Good Shepherd Ranch heritage turkeys are available by pre-order in a variety of sizes between 8 and 22 pounds and are priced at $8.75 per pound. While Thanksgiving is still a few weeks away, there are only a limited number of these exceptional turkeys available so be sure to place your order soon!


Turkey Q & A

Want to get to know your bird better? At The Fatted Calf we field many turkey queries.

What is a heritage turkey?
Prized for their rich flavor and beautiful plumage, heritage turkeys are the descendents of wild turkeys and the ancestors of the common Broad-breasted White industrial breed of turkey that comprises 99.99% of the supermarket turkeys sold today. Heritage turkeys are allowed to mate naturally, unlike their industrial counterparts. They are slower growing and live a more natural life which makes for a more flavorful and juicier bird. Some of the heritage turkeys raised on Good Shepherd Ranch come from bloodlines dating back to the mid 1800’s.

Where do the turkeys come from?

At The Fatted Calf we source all of our turkeys from Good Shepherd in Lindsborg, Kansas where they receive the best possible care from farmer Frank Reese. Frank fell in love with turkeys on a visit to a nearby farm at the age of five. He began raising birds in the 1950′s, has maintained and improved his flock over the years and now has the oldest continuous strain of standard bred turkeys in North America.

What makes Good Shepherd Ranch turkeys better than those other “heritage” turkeys?
Frank Reese and his turkeys truly are one of a kind — no one breeds poultry better than Frank who stays true to 19th century Poultry Standards of Perfection. His rare Standard Bronze, Bourbon Red, White Holland, Black, Narragansett and Slate are renowned for their flavor. According to the USDA, Frank Reese remains the only farmer allowed to use the name “Heritage” on his USDA label thanks to certification by the oldest agricultural organization in North America, the American Poultry Association. Many other producers that claim to have a “heritage” flock actually cross breed the turkeys with more commercial breeds. Good Shepherd Ranch was also the first turkey farm to be certified by the prestigious Animal Welfare Institute. All of Frank’s birds live a long and slow growing outdoor life that results in healthy and delicious turkey for your Thanksgiving table.

What do the turkeys eat?
The turkeys are fed an all vegetarian diet free of antibiotics and growth hormones. The grain is milled just down the road from Good Shepherd Ranch at Custom Mills, an Amish grain mill. The turkeys are pastured, meaning they are raised outdoors on the Kansas prairie. No pesticides or herbicides are ever used in the pasture or on the farm. Additionally their outdoor lifestyle means that they eat more grass resulting in higher levels of the good omega-3 fatty acids.

When do I need to place my turkey order?
There is no cut off date for ordering a turkey however, every year we sell out of turkey. We need to place our order with Good Shepherd Ranch by November 1 and while we are pretty good at predicting how many of each type of turkey we might sell it really helps us if you place your order as early as possible. Some sizes sell out faster than others. Should you need to change your order at a later date we can generally accommodate those requests.

How big of a turkey will I need?
We recommend between 1 and 1 ½ pounds of turkey for every person at your Thanksgiving table. For example, if you are cooking for 8 adults, we would recommend a 10 to 12 pound turkey. That might seem like a lot but keep in mind that the yield on a turkey once it is cooked and carved off of the bone is only about half of its original weight. Good Sherherd Ranch turkeys are available in a variety of sizes; 8-10 lbs, 10-12 lbs, 12-14 lbs, 14-16 lbs,16-18 lbs, 18-20 lbs and 20-22 lbs. We will make our best effort to get you the size you nee but if you want a 20 pound turkey it is better to order one size up, 20-22, rather than 18-20.

How do I place my order and how much will it cost?

To place an order for pick up at our Napa location please email or phone us at (707) 256-3684.

To place an order for pick up at our San Francisco location please email us at or phone us at (415) 400-5614.

All turkeys are priced at $8.75 per pound. A $25 deposit is required for each turkey you order.

When can I pick up my turkey?
Turkeys are available for pick up between Sunday, November 20 and Wednesday, November 23. Just let us know your preferred date. Should you want a turkey before or after the regular pick up dates, we will do our best to accommodate you.

What if I want something in addition to turkey or instead of turkey this year?
Fatted Calf also has a host of holiday offerings beyond the big bird. Brine kits make easy work of seasoning. Rich, golden turkey broth is essential for making gravy or braising turkey legs. Foie Gras makes for a decadent start to your Thanksgiving meal. Sage and onion sausage is an excellent addition to stuffing. Bourbon and honey glazed ham is ready to heat, slice and serve. Stuffed quail and duck are delicious and simple turkey alternatives for a smaller gathering. From platters of pâté and salami for your guests to nosh on to tubs of leaf lard for perfectly flaky piecrust, Fatted Calf has your Thanksgiving menu needs covered!


All above menu items will be available from Sunday, November 19 through Wednesday, November 23.

To place an order for pick up at our Napa location please email or phone us at (707) 256-3684.

To place an order for pick up at our San Francisco location please email us at or phone us at (415) 400-5614.