If your family hopes to roast a bird for Christmas dinner, you might have some options beyond the freezer case full of supermarket turkeys.
A few local farms and stores sell other options that could inject variety into your holiday meal, including both fresh and frozen birds — and not just turkey. Some places even sell capons, goose, pheasant, duck and partridge for the adventurous home chef.
Locally raised farm birds
David Jones Farm: The farm in Cabot is running a special on Christmas turkeys. The usual price of $3.25 per pound has been dropped to $2.50. All turkeys by this time of the year are sold frozen.
Mr. Jones raises about 4,000 free-roaming turkeys and chickens per year, although “almost all of them are eaten by now,” he said. He’s been in business for about 25 years, with larger production in the past 10 years.
Most people will pick up turkeys on Dec. 18 and 19 to have ample time to thaw them, but he’ll sell them even closer to Christmas for those who wish to thaw their birds in water baths.
To order: 724-352-2450. For information: jonesturkeyfarm.com.
Heritage Farm: Pete and Tara Burns’ farm is two hours from Pittsburgh to the northeast in Ridgway — but the farm offers home delivery in Pittsburgh. The Burnses still have frozen chickens and a few turkeys, although most of the turkeys were sold for Thanksgiving. They also raise pork and lamb and sell eggs and home-canned and home-baked goods. Meat is processed right on the farm “in a humane way,” Pete Burns said, noting it’s all GMO-free and pasture-raised.
Deliveries are made to the north and east suburbs on alternating weeks, as noted on a calendar on the farm’s website. Customers can also pick up birds at the farm. To order: burnsheritagefarm.com.
J.L. Kennedy Meat Stand: John and Valarie Kennedy and their three children — Jacob, Taylor and Mayson — farm more than 400 acres next to Mars High School “in suburban sprawl,” Mrs. Kennedy said. They raise fresh turkeys, capons, smaller chickens, ducks and pheasants as well as beef, pork and lamb for sale at the J.L. Kennedy Meat Stand every Saturday at the Farmers’ Market Cooperative of East Liberty. Pheasants can be ordered smoked as well as fresh.
Mrs. Kennedy is quick to point out that the market is located next to Home Depot in East Liberty, and there’s a free parking lot.
And they’ve got plenty of birds left for Christmas.
They’re one of the few local farms selling USDA-certified meats butchered and packaged at a USDA facility in Butler County, they say.
Both restaurant chefs and home cooks buy from their meat stand, which is open from 5 a.m. to noon Saturdays. Preorders by phone are welcome but need to be picked up by 10 a.m. The earlier the order, the more choice the customer has regarding the size of bird available.
The meat stand takes cash, checks, credit cards and SNAP benefits. For preorders, call 724-898-2316. On Saturday mornings, the Kennedys can be reached at the market at 412-661-1875.
For more on the meat stand: farmersmarketcooperativeofeastliberty.com/j-l-kennedy-meat-stand.
Pounds’ Turkey Farm: Tim and Beverly Pounds raise 11,000 turkeys per year on their 197-acre Leechburg farm. In business since 1935, the farm employs 11 second- and third-generation family members and about 40 other workers seasonally.
This year they expanded their Christmas flock so they have even more turkeys available than usual for the holiday, Tim Pounds said.
Their fresh turkeys are available for sale at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and they also butcher antibiotic-free beef cattle year-round, he said.
Customers can order birds by calling 724-845-7661 or stopping by the market at 4215 Melwood Road in Leechburg from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.
You also can find their products at Feast on Brilliant in Aspinwall, Schramm Farm & Orchards in Jeannette, Tom Friday’s Market in Brighton Heights, Dave’s Country Meats in Valencia, Mish Farms Meat Market in West Deer, Wagner’s Market in Hampton, Shenot Farm & Market in Marshall, Frick Park Market in Point Breeze, Shadyside Market & Deli, and Strip District Meats. Orders at those locations would need to be arranged through the individual stores.
For details, go to poundsturkeyfarm.com.
Walnut Hill Farm: In October, Michael and Karen Kovach started their 10th year of business at Sharpsville’s Walnut Hill Farm. They raise turkeys, chickens, cattle, sheep and pigs on 107 acres in Sharpsville and another 70 acres in Ohio.
Their animals are grass-fed and GMO-free.
The businest time of the year is Thanksgiving; this year it sold 137 turkeys in a single day to customers from Pittsburgh, Erie, Cleveland and Akron, Ohio.
Their meats are USDA processed and frozen, but they’re sold right at their farm market from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays and the first Saturday of each month, as well as on occasional “pop-up market” Saturdays as announced on Facebook. Christmas turkeys and chickens can be ordered by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information: thewalnuthillfarm.com.
Grocery store/meat market birds
Giant Eagle: All stores sell frozen Cornish hens as well as the usual frozen turkeys, turkey breasts and chickens. Frozen capons, ducks and geese are available on request, as are frozen antibiotic-free turkeys, frozen kosher turkeys and fresh organic turkeys, but order well in advance at your local store. gianteagle.com.
McGinnis Sisters: Both locations — Monroeville and Brentwood — sell frozen pheasant, whole ducks, boneless duck breasts, duck legs, whole geese, quail, Cornish hens and boneless turduckens. mcginnis-sisters.com.
Strip District Meats: The meat market, now more than 50 years old, sells exotic meats. The exotic birds include pheasant, quail, poussin (young chickens), capon, duck and squab (young pigeon). The birds are frozen, and most come from California. Order in advance so you get what you want: 412-391-1762. For information: stripdistrictmeats.com.
Weiss Meats: The second and third generations are now running the Jefferson Hills meat market that opened in 1948. Duck is always available in the store, along with chicken and turkey. The market can special-order other unusual birds, but the special-order deadline is already past for this Christmas. Smoked turkey legs are another specialty item available year-round. For orders: 412-650-8560. For information: weissmeats.com.
Whole Foods Market: The chain has locations in East Liberty, Wexford and Upper St. Clair. All three sell fresh goose, duck, pheasant, guinea hens and Cornish hens. Some items will be available in store, but orders can be placed by calling or visiting the store of your choice or ordering online at wholefoodsmarket.com/shop/choose.
Wholey’s: It’s perhaps a little-known fact that the Strip District fish market sells other meats, too. Frozen duck, goose and capon are available year-round along with chicken and turkey. For information: 412-391-3737 or wholey.com.
Rebecca Sodergren: email@example.com; @pgfoodevents.