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Nov 5, 2020

How To Choose Your Turkey: Free-Range, Organic or Conventional

Free-Range Vs. Organic Vs. Conventional Turkey

The holidays are coming, and that means big turkey dinners with the whole family. If you’re curious about your organic food options this year, we can help. At Organic Restaurants, we can help you decide which kind of turkey works best for you. There’s the conventional turkey that you’ve probably had over and over again. There are free-range turkeys. Then there are organic turkeys.

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How do you know which one should be on your holiday dinner table? Let’s take a closer look at the types of turkey and what they have to offer.


You know this turkey. Your supermarket has a freezer full of these giant birds every year around Thanksgiving and again around Christmas and the winter holidays. These birds are generally large and inexpensive, making it easy to feed the whole family. Some stores even give them away when you spend money on other things!

The problem with conventionally raised turkeys is that they can be full of water. This means that your turkey can end up getting “steamed” as you cook it. This results in a dryer turkey. Conventionally raised turkeys also consume antibiotics. In recent years, some people have tried to stay away from foods with antibiotics in them because they could contribute to antibiotic resistance. Diseases that used to be treatable with antibiotics are now mutating and becoming resistant, and some believe that it’s partially due to the fact that the same antibiotics used to treat diseases in humans are being used to prevent animals from getting sick on factory farms.

Free Range

People who want a healthier option often look for a free-range bird. Instead of being raised on a crowded factory farm in tightly packed cages, these turkeys had access to the outdoors. They moved around a lot. They got the chance to forage for their own food.

Proponents of free-range turkeys believe that this way of raising poultry results in better tasting meat. These turkeys may end up smaller than the traditional Thanksgiving bird, but it’s going to taste much better even without gravy or extra seasoning. These cost significantly more money than conventional turkeys, but if you’re looking for a more flavorful meal a free-range turkey might be worth the investment.

We do have to note one important thing though. Not every free-range turkey is organic! Organic is a term that is actually regulated by government authorities. A farm has to meet certain standards to say that their product is organic. Not every free-range turkey producer meets those thresholds.


Organic turkeys are often free-range. They’re fed a pesticide-free diet and don’t take in any antibiotics. As we mentioned, a turkey with the “organic” label has had to rise to high standards. These turkeys might be significantly more expensive at the store, but if you’re really concerned about finding the healthiest dinner option for the holidays an organic turkey may just be worth the investment.

For Healthy Living Suggestions

If you want to learn more about organic options and healthier substitutes, we can help. Visit the Organic Restaurants website and keep an eye out for our latest tips on healthy eating and organic meals.

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