With Thanksgiving right around the corner — it’s time to talk Turkey! Every November, we at Walden face the unique challenge of getting ethically raised birds to thousands of dinner tables in a short amount of time. Why so fast? We are firmly dedicated to providing members with the freshest turkeys possible. Walden turkeys are never frozen. In fact, they are still on pasture a mere week before they are processed and delivered for the holiday — a standard unthinkable for our large, industrial competitors.
For years now, Walden has teamed up with local farmers committed to raising birds using sustainable farming practices. Walden Thanksgiving turkeys freely roam green pastures, eating grass, grubs, and even some pesky parasites. These pastures span several acres, have built-in shade structures, and include roosting areas. Not only that, but farmers constantly rotate animals from pasture to pasture — an environmentally important practice that helps pastures sequester CO2 and gives the grass time to regrow so it can be grazed repeatedly without being destroyed. Turkeys roaming the pasture help with this regeneration by fertilizing the soil with their Nitrogen-rich droppings and tilling it with their claws. This doesn’t happen in large, industrial turkey farms where turkeys live their lives in barns with no space to roost and nothing to do, eating an unnatural diet. Walden is proud that its farming partners allow turkeys to live as they’re meant to — wandering on pasture and eating an omnivorous diet.
Unlike large, commercial poultry processors, we don’t flash-freeze or pre-brine our turkeys. Although a pre-brine can sound appealing, frozen, pre-brined turkeys are stored sometimes for weeks or months, causing them to get water-logged and have a squishy texture. Instead, Walden moves turkeys from the farm, to the processor, to our warehouse, into our delivery vans, and finally, onto a member’s doorstep all in a matter of days — just in time for a member to freshly brine their bird with their own recipe.
Providing fresh pasture-raised Thanksgiving turkeys requires a lot of long hours over many weeks in the cold November weather, but it’s worth it knowing that we can deliver our members tastier, healthier food straight to their door. Not only that, but keeping our farm-to-home network locally focused cuts down on our carbon footprint, helping our fuel use per 100 shares delivered fall by 6.3% year-over-year! High quality is hard work, but it’s also our mission. And with your support, we can continue to celebrate delicious, sustainable Thanksgivings for years to come.
So enjoy your feast this holiday! Don’t gobble it all up too fast!
— All of us at Walden
p.s. We have a page on best practices for your pasture-raised turkey here!