A True New Englander
Here at Yellow House Farm, we raise one variety of turkey, New England's own Narragansett. Quite possibly the most stunning of turkey varieties, it is also exceptionally tame and full of friendly, dog-like personality. Toms strut about the yard, following all visitors about in a comically desperate attempt to be noticed and impress.
The origins of the Narragansett are lost in the early days of New England turkey farming. It is thought that Norfolk Black turkeys made their way over from old Europe with the English settlers that first colonized this area. However, it is related in many old breed books that indigenous, wild turkeys were known to enter barnyards, best the poorly prepared domestic toms and usher the newly won harem of females out into the woods. The consequent crossing of these two varieties is thought to hold the origins of what was to become New England's common barnyard turkey.
Tragically, the Narragansett was almost annihilated by neglect in the 20th century, as the Broad-breasted White, a gastly mutant of a turkey, came to dominate the commercial landscape. The BBW "turkey" has, at this point in history, been completely distorted from its natural form. It is prone to leg-issues and heart attacks, prolapsed rectums and a host of other health issues. Moreover, it has an abysmal immune system, requiring more protection from exposure to nature than any "natural" animal ever should. Furthermore, on account of the genetic distortion of its frame and general lack of thrift, the BBW is no longer capable of natural reproduction, signifying that all commercial turkeys that are not of a heritage (non-broad breasted variety) are the result of artificial insemination.
The good news? The Narragansett. Being a premier heritage breed, the Narragansett is free of all of these troublesome issues and defects. They are naturally reproduced, hardy, free from the need for noxious chemicals, able to live in nature as nature, and, moreover, they are simply delicious.
This Thanksgiving, think Narragansett!