On the Holiday Table - Local Turkey care of Healthy Living Cafe and MarketNovember 5, 2014
Over almost 30 years, Owner Katy Lesser has grown Healthy Living Market and Cafe from a small 1,200 square foot store to the thriving 35,000 square foot local food powerhouse and learning center it is today. Before the days of local food distributors and advocate organizations like Vermont Fresh Network, Katy had to literally forge new paths to get local food to her market and then to the public. When Katy had the idea to start selling local turkey at Thanksgiving, it took a trip to the farm (and a large vehicle) to start offering local birds to her customers...
"I went to visit Dave and Judy Adams [of Adams Family Farm] at their little farm in Westford. There I actually got my first lesson in local--dedicated farmers who raised poultry of astounding quality, who didn't really understand how to bring their product to market. People came to their farm every year to pick up their turkeys, but the product was not available in any local markets. The rest is happy history; we worked together to make a plan. I learned about turkeys and the Adams learned about wholesale. That first year I sold about 25 turkeys.., last year we sold 1000 from 3 local farms.
Early on, I picked up birds and because we didn't have the kind of cooler space we now have, I just hoped the temps would stay low enough to hold the birds outside behind the store! Luckily Vermont weather cooperated. Picking up turkeys at Adams is a tradition I absolutely cherish. I'll be there this year with my Ford F350 and a huge flatbed trailer."
Pre-order turkeys are now available at Healthy Living Market and Cafe and we asked Lead Buyer and Mentor Michael Benoit for some tips on preparing a holiday bird. Michael had three straightforward guidelines--"Never over cook your turkey. Brine your turkey. Deep fry when possible."