Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

A Bird for Every Budget

Choosing a turkey used to be pretty simple. All you’d have to do is get a head count of dinner guests and find the biggest bird possible to feed the crowd. Now it can be pretty daunting. Here’s some advice to help you make the right turkey choice for you. The biggest difference for almost any turkey you choose at Whole Foods Market is that they are fresh. Our birds are harvested close to the time of being sold. You may not realize that the FDA allows birds to be harvested in February, kept at 27°F for months and then sold as fresh in November.

That’s not what we sell here, but people who are buying our fresh birds for the first time aren’t used to getting turkeys that are really fresh. Now, you may see ice on our fresh birds because we chill them below 30°F to keep them safe and fresh, but they aren’t frozen.

That said, we do offer some value options of frozen turkey, and they are from this year’s harvest, not holdovers from last year like some frozen turkeys sold elsewhere.

So, your first choice is frozen turkey or fresh turkey. Well, actually, your first choice is if you buy your bird from us at all. It’s important to know that all of our turkeys are raised according to our strict quality standards requiring no antibiotics ever, an all-vegetarian diet, no added solutions or injections (other than pure sea-salt solution brining where noted), and complete traceability to the farm. We think this makes our turkeys a better choice.

Now, what about all those other options: kosher, value, pre-brined, organic, heritage, etc…? We bring you a range of options so you can choose a turkey that matches your values and budget.

Oh yeah, one more critically important note! Now that you’ve chosen your turkey, please remember that fresh turkeys cook faster than older ones. You need to plan your feast so the turkey is ready at the same time as the mashed potatoes and dressing!

Here’s a link to a bunch of turkey cooking information. Enjoy your special dinner!

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57 comments

Comments

Carol & Ed Gottlieb says …

Can we buy an Organic, fresh (not frozen) turkey? The chart makes it seem that these are mutually exclusive Also what bird has the most dark meat. New broad breasted breeds have been chosen for increased white meat which is dryer and you get inconsistent cooking time.

says …

@Carol Of course! You'll have the option to buy Natural, Organic or Heirloom turkeys. The last turkey mentioned, Heirloom or Heritage Turkey, is the turkey with the most dark meat. If you've never eaten one of these turkeys before, many people notice it has a gamier taste than other turkey. The link below will take you to a page with information about Heriloom turkeys. http://heritageturkeyfoundation.org/

Dave Beaulieu says …

Thanks. Good article. I just want to say that regardless of the bird, make sure to brine it. Brine adds both flavor and moisture...definitely worth doing.

Jessica says …

Yummy yummy turky...

says …

@Ginette How fun! Since our stores source their turkey differently the availability will be different from store to store. The best way to learn the availability of the birds at your community Whole Foods Market is to contact them directly and a Team Member will be happy to speak with you about this. The link below will help you to identify the contact information for your store. www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores

Deb says …

This sounds wonderful! But you simply must try some Himalayan pink salt. I get mine from Sustainable Sourcing https://secure.sustainablesourcing.com. The flavor is so much better than regular salt! Thanks for sharing this recipe—I can’t wait to try it!

merrily robnett says …

I need equivalents of a "butterball lil butterball 8lb. Or less can I get this from you? Do you take EBT?

says …

@Merrily Some stores take EBT but I recommend reaching out to your community Whole Foods Market directly to ensure that your store will accept EBT. Follow the link below to help identify the contact information for your store and a Team Member will be happy to chat with you about this. As for your turkey options, we are offering bone-in or bone-less turkey breasts this year as well as smaller Heirloom Turkeys. To scope out the options for your store you can check the online store, and even order one for pick up! The second link below will take you to our online store. Make sure you select your store location of preference before you make an order. www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/shop/

Ginette Hamilton says …

Hi please would you advise when your turkeys are available from ? I intend to do a Christmas cookery class on 13th November and need a couple of birds for then. Ginette

Marilyn Stortstrom says …

What is the approximate cost of a 12-pound Basic Fresh Turkey and a 12-pound Organic Turkey?

says …

@Marilyn Good question. Since our stores source their turkeys from different locations and each store has control of their own price points, this information is going to differ from Region to Region and store to store. The best way to get the most accurate and complete information regarding the price of regular (free-range in Whole Foods) and Organic is to reach out to you community Whole Foods Market directly. The link below will help you identify the contact information for your store. Thanks for reaching out! www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores

Billy says …

Looking into the boneless turkey breast this year brined. How does you stores brine them? Brown sugar, salt, spices?

says …

@Billy Typically Whole Foods uses mainly salt, water and stock but each store does things a little differently. To find out how your community Whole Foods Market brines their birds I encourage you to reach out to them directly. Follow the link below to help identify the contact information for your store. www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores

Christine says …

I love turkey birds.

Lisa Gautier says …

Yum! My family gets our Thanksgiving turkey from you each year, and we plan to do it again this year!

Pat Hazard says …

Chicken Stock.

shalini says …

the best turkey is at whole foods fresh from the farm with no antibiotics ever!!!

Rebecca says …

My favorite turkey is a living one! Luckily, Whole Foods sells my preferred holiday dish - Field Roast Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute. So delicious - and no animal needed to be killed for it! Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Paul says …

Looking forward to try out one of your turkeys for the holiday this year. Do any of your turkeys have to be special ordered at the store or do you stock all types? Thanks.

says …

@Paul Each store will stock all the types listed in our chart but online ordering or pre-ordering will ensure that your preferred bird will still be in stock when you're ready to pick it up. To order online, just click the link below and select your store location. Then select the "Thanksgiving" option to find the bird of your choice/dreams. ;) http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/shop/

Kimberly says …

Do you sell fresh turkey breasts?? Thanks.

Lydia Villescas says …

Can we get cost of the different types of turkey so that we can plan our budgets accordingly?

Don Luke says …

A better bird would be leaner.

Louise says …

Hi, Please let me know when turkeys are available before thanks giving.

says …

@Louise All of our Thanksgiving main and side dishes (as well as everything else "Thanksgiving-y") will be available for pick up from November 18th through Thanksgiving. Thanks for your loyalty!

Sophia says …

hi, thanks for this helpful chart. If at all possible, could you include information such as price/lb? that will help me in deciding which turkey to obtain this year. thanks.

says …

@Sophia The best way to get the most accurate pricing per pound is to check the online store. Since sourcing to each store differs from region to region, the price per pound is not consistent across all the stores. However, if you access the online store and look up the turkeys, the price per pound will be available there. Click the link below and make sure you select the store location of your preference before you begin shopping, and double check it before you finish your payment. Happy hunting! http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/shop/

Mel says …

I always have organic root veggies (burdock, onions, etc.), chipotle pepper and organic puppy treats...that way everyone is happy! Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Patricia says …

This will be the first year we purchase a organic, fresh turkey. I'm really looking forward to it!

Suzanne says …

I don't see anything in your information on "strict quality standards" concerning cage-free or free range. Can you post that information as well? I also know that you have a 1 through 5 rating system and am interested in what number your Thanksgiving turkeys come in at?

says …

@Suzanne All of the Turkey's sold at Whole Foods Market are cage-free/free range. Since this is our standard, we simply refer to the birds as "Natural." The first link below is a great resource telling about all the quality standards that Whole Foods applies to it's Turkeys. The best way to get the most accurate and complete information on the Step Rated Turkeys available at your community's Whole Foods Market is to reach out to that store directly. Sourcing of the turkeys is different from region to region, changing the availability of differently rated birds. The last link below will help you identify the contact information for your store. A Team Member at that store will be happy to discuss the options for feeding your family this year. http://blog.wholefoodsmarket.com/2010/11/our-outstanding-turkeys/ www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores

Jess says …

Are your turkeys injected with anything? If so, are the turkeys gluten and dairy free?

Stasigrace says …

I only buy my meat, fish and poultry from Whole Foods because of your standards. But I wish you didn't require your birds to be vegetarian. The fact is that free-roaming (and of course wild) chickens and turkeys etc. eat lots of bugs. That's one of their best features in a backyard garden! So by requiring a vegetarian diet you are working against the natural instinct of the animal. Can you comment? Maybe you don't count bugs and you just mean they aren't fed animal products...

jacki says …

what price of your turkeys per lb. thanks

says …

@Jacki Since each store sources their products a little differently, the prices are going to be a little different from region to region, as well. The prices per pound for each of our types of turkey should be available on your store's online shop. Just follow the link below and make sure you select your shopping store of preference. The turkey selections and price will be available under the "Thanksgiving" link. Happy hunting! www.wholefoodsmarket.com/shop

guadalupe says …

Hello so i really want to get a fresh turkey but i live all the way in palmdale California is there any way i can pre order one and go pick it up the day before thanksgiving?

says …

@Guadalupe Of course! Online ordering is actually the recommended method. You can pre-order more than a Turkey too! There's all sorts of sides and complimentary dishes available for pre-order. Click on the link below and select your store location. From there you should be able to select the "Thanksgiving" option and browse for what you'd like. Orders will be available for pick up from Nov. 18th through Thanksgiving. http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/shop/

Wandamae says …

Can I order a turkey on-line from your Santa Cruz location?

says …

@Wandamae Sure! The link below will take you to your Santa Cruz store on-line shopping options. BUT, before confirming your order, please double check that the correct store has been chosen. Otherwise, your order may be available for pick up states away. No good! http://shop.wholefoodsmarket.com/store/Thanksgiving-C774.aspx

Morinne K. says …

Turkeys are not naturally vegetarian. They will eat worms, insects, and small frogs and lizards. So, since your turkeys are on an all-vegetarian diet, does that mean they are confined indoors their entire lives with no access to any insect or animal tidbits outside?

Kristin says …

Hi, My niece who has allergies to gluten and dairy will be visiting us this year for Thanksgiving. Are all of your turkeys gluten and dairy free? Thanks, Kristin

says …

@Kristin Yes indeedy! If you're going tofurkey you may need to double check, but the birds are all gluten and dairy free. :)

Elizabeth says …

Do you offer any turkeys that were not fed a "vegitarian" diet?

says …

@Elizabeth No, all meat products we offer, including turkeys, were fed vegetarian diets.

Sally Eastey says …

Will you be selling preordered roasted whole turkeys for Thanksgiving?

says …

@Sally Yes, indeedy. Check out our online store for all your turkey options! www.wholefoodsmarket.com/shop

Cherie Randall says …

What will be the price per pound for organic turkeys? Also, when can one be reserved?

says …

@Annie Since each store does things a little differently, the best way to find out the price per lb on the turkey of your preference (natural, organic, heirloom, etc) is to reach out to your store directly. The link below will take you to the contact information for that store. http://wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/overlandpark/

Annie Mangiaracina says …

Trying to find out the price per pound on fresh turkeys at 119th store in O.P. Kansas 66212

Melissa Fenton says …

I would like a certified organic turkey for Thanksgiving. When does it need to be ordered and how much do you charge per pound?

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