Choosing the Best Turkey for Your Table

Buying a Thanksgiving turkey? Here are our tips for navigating your options, plus why our global meat buyer recommends organic turkeys.

Roast Turkey with Apples and Onions

Roast Turkey with Apples and Onions Recipe opens in a new tab

Few entrées are as fraught (dare I say stuffed?) with significance as Thanksgiving turkey. Whether you’re a first-timer trying to impress friends and family or a seasoned cook looking for new tricks, one thing’s for certain: choosing a great bird is the first step toward success.

We asked Whole Foods Market’s Theo Weening — a man who purchases thousands of turkeys a year — for his tips on choosing a turkey.

All About Organic Turkeys

As our Global Meat Buyer, Theo keeps abreast of the latest trends in turkey. “A lot of people are choosing organic turkeys because that means the birds were fed only organic, non-GMO feed.”

And for Theo — who grew up working in his family’s artisan meat shop — choosing organic is also about the taste. “The meat is juicy and has a great depth of flavor.”

How to Make Sense of Your Options

In addition to organic turkeys, Whole Foods Market offers an array of choices for discerning holiday cooks. We asked Theo for a quick glossary to help you make the right selection for your feast:

Heritage turkeys. Rich, succulent old-world breeds cherished for flavor. Up to 22 pounds (available in select stores).

Heirloom turkeys. Robust flavor with higher percentage of dark meat. Up to 28 pounds.

Kosher turkeys. Two kosher certifications: Rabbi Babad and the Orthodox Union. 10-20+ pounds (available in select stores).

Classic turkeys. Great choice for value, quality and flavor. 8-30 pounds.

Whether classic or kosher, heirloom or organic, all of the fresh and frozen turkeys we sell meet our Quality Standards. That means they’re 5-Step® Animal Welfare rated and raised with no antibiotics, no animal by-products in their feed, no added solutions* or injections and no added growth hormones**.

Turkey with Chile-Citrus Butter

Turkey with Chile-Citrus Butter Recipe opens in a new tab

Ready to get started? Check out our servings calculator opens in a new tab to learn how many pounds of turkey you’ll need for the number of guests you’re expecting.

Reserve your holiday bird at opens in a new tab, then head over to our holiday guide opens in a new tab for advice on brining, roasting, stuffing and our favorite turkey recipes, including Turkey with Chile-Citrus Butter opens in a new tab, Turkey with Extra Crispy Skin opens in a new tab and Roast Turkey with Apples and Onions opens in a new tab.

Do you have a tip for succulent, sensational turkey? Share your holiday hints in the comments section.


* Except for pure sea salt solutions for our turkeys labeled "brined."

** Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in raising turkeys.

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