Today I rubbed the cure on our Thanksgiving bird, an 11-pound turkey I ordered from the local Cheyenne Valley Farm. Dustin, who I bought it from at the farmers market, didn't recall what breed it was. A white something-or-other?
So I have no idea if it's a heritage bird or not. The term refers to the many old-school turkey breeds that fell out of fashion beginning in the 1950s. I'm glad we have a locally raised bird, period, something that's not pumped full of hormones or water and vegetable oil (which a self-basting bird is.)
The modern history or turkeys in America is rich with stories and facts. I had the pleasure of writing about the development of the Broad Breasted White for Modern Farmer. It's an edifying read--one that's laced with the tale of my husband's grandfather, Vic Ryckebosch, whose breeding and farming innovations led to a robust and successful empire of poultry in the high dessert of Southern California's Antelope Valley.
And for more nugget-like turkey facts, check out this list of 10 Turkey Myths that I did for Mental Floss. It's useful stuff, like: don't rise off your bird before you roast it. Why? Read the article, dummy! And happy Thanksgiving.