Chick Piantedosi, owner of Piantedosi’s Butcher Shop in Plymouth, Mass., says prices will be cheaper for frozen turkeys, but fresh ones taste better.
Fresh or frozen? The time has come for you to ask that question when you’re turkey shopping for Thanksgiving dinner. Prices will be cheaper for frozen turkeys, but consumers will be sacrificing taste, said Chick Piantedosi, owner of Piantedosi’s Butcher Shop in Plymouth, Mass.
“We don’t sell frozen turkeys here because they are loaded with sodium and preservatives in order to keep them fresher, and they don’t taste as good,” Piantedosi said.
His customers can place orders for turkeys ranging from 10 to 30 pounds, he said.
He buys turkeys from New Jersey, New York and Plainville Farms in New Oxford, Pa., , which grows the birds without antibiotics.
Regular turkeys at Piantedosi’s Butcher Shop sell for $1.59 per pound, and organic turkeys sell for $2.69 per pound.
“They taste a lot better and they haven’t been sitting in a freezer for years, and it’s fresh,” Piantedosi said.
If you want a turkey from a local farmer, Bongi’s Turkey Roost in Duxbury, Mass., will sell you one.
“If you buy a turkey locally, you know for a fact that it’s a fresh turkey,” said Tom Pierce Jr., owner of the farm. “If you go to the supermarket, you don’t know where it came from and when it was processed.”
Buying a locally grown turkey means supporting the local economy, Pierce said.
“Local farmers employ local people,” he said. “You’re not just supporting one business, you’re supporting lots of businesses in the chain.”
Turkeys at Bongi’s sell for $3.19 per pound, down 10 cents from last year because the cost of grain is a bit cheaper, he said.
Traditional frozen turkeys cost considerably less, with some local supermarkets selling them for as little as 50 cents a pound.
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Allow for about one pound per person, which includes a moderate amount for leftovers. Most markets stock 8- to 20-pound turkeys, so if you plan on a small or very large bird, you may want to order it in advance.
If the visual image of a huge, whole bird on a platter is important to you, then go with a large turkey. But chefs have found that two smaller birds not only take less time to roast, but they stay moister too.
Store turkeys at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. A locally raised fresh turkey will only last one to two days at this temperature.
Commercially raised fresh turkeys in their unopened packaging may last longer and should be marked with a “use by” date, which is your best indicator. They may be kept as long as three to four days under refrigeration.