Have you ordered your Thanksgiving turkey yet?
This is the second year I’ve bought a fresh, local turkey from Gozzi’s Turkey Farm in Guilford, Conn. It’s more expensive and a bit more of a hassle than just hauling one out of the refrigerated bin at my local grocery, but totally worth it in the taste department.
The Gozzi family started raising turkeys 69 years ago, and they sell 15,000 to 17,000 each year between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That’s a lot of fowl, but not compared to the 150,000 turkeys the Gozzis shipped at their peak in the 1970s. With the growth of turkey producers like Perdue, the market for small turkey farmers shrank dramatically and never rebounded. Fortunately, the Gozzi’s are still selling enough to make a living.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the appearance of the neon-dyed turkeys in the front pen of the the Gozzi’s retail store on Route 1. The Gozzis mix up vegetable colorings and transform a dozen toms and hens into strutting Easter eggs each year, as a way to make a trip to the farm worth it.
Bet you won’t see anything like that at your local big box store.
(You can watch this video I found on YouTube if you want to see the neon turkeys and you don't mind screaming kids).