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Watch: How the Best Turkeys Are Raised

In time for Thanksgiving, Nick Solares explores what makes heritage turkeys the superior bird

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so The Meat Show's host and professional carnivore Nick Solares decided to check in on the bird synonymous with mealtime during the holiday season. On a recent jaunt to the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Tarrytown, N.Y., Solares met with farm director Jack Algiere and a pack of the center's heritage breed turkeys to learn the philosophy behind the way the animals are raised.

The heritage label, as it applies to turkeys, signifies that three main qualifications have been met while raising the birds: They have been allowed to grow at their natural rate, are capable of living out the normal turkey lifespan, and can mate freely, without human intervention. When these parameters are adhered to, says Algiere, the meat from the resulting bird is darker, firmer, and more flavorful than the average factory-farmed bird, the result of an open-air lifestyle, increased blood flow, and generally higher levels of care. Watch the video above for an up-close look (perhaps too close, if you're Solares' shoe) at Stone Barns' turkey program.

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