Consumers flock for 'heritage' Thanksgiving turkeys

A free-range turkey farmer in the US says that consumers are lining up to buy a special type of free-range turkey this Thanksgiving - the 'heritage' turkey.

Consumers are prepared to pay for the privilege, with 'heritage turkeys' costing US$5 per pound compared to US$3.50 per pound for the regular free-range alternative.
David Smith, owner of Springfield Farm in Maryland, says the heritage birds "are more like the wild turkeys. They are growing in popularity. They are smaller and have less white meat, but the flavor is much more intense."
The heritage turkeys now make up half the total numberbirds on his farm, with total sales of 650 free-range turkeys expected before the Thanksgiving celebrations.
Fresh, free-range turkeys are reportedly one of the fastest growing niches in the gobbler market.
Maryland farmers grew 800,000 turkeys last year, nearly double the 440,000 raised in 2000, but only a tiny fraction of total US production of 256.3 million turkeys last year, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
Sherrie Rosenblatt, a spokeswoman for the National Turkey Federation said that Thanksgiving and Christmas are the two biggest holidays for turkey sales, "but people eat turkey all year long. It's not just for Thanksgiving anymore."
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