• Carrie Selin

Farm to Table - Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving for many of us is about gathering family and friends to enjoy a big turkey dinner. For me, it’s about being grateful for my health, for my boys, for my friendships and for being able to do what I love – working with agriculture industry. It’s also about being thankful for the food, and the wonderful producers that bring it to our tables. To celebrate thanksgiving farm to table, this past week I was fortunate to visit Hinke and Mark Therrien’s turkey farm (MENT 2B).

Hinke and Mark Therrien, inside one of their turkey barns. Photo provided.

Here are the top things we can all be thankful for:

ONE: Alberta producers such as Hinke and Mark genuinely care for the turkeys they are raising. They ensure bio-security measures are followed so the turkeys don’t get sick, they put out bales of hay or balls of string for the turkeys to peck at for “entertainment”, and they carefully watch the behaviour of the turkeys to avoid unnecessary panic or anxiousness.

These Tom's (male turkeys) are kept in different barns than the hens (female turkey).

TWO: Alberta raised turkeys follow a strict diet with no added hormones or steroids. Turkeys eat pellets of wheat, canola seeds, faba beans and peas, that are grown on Alberta farms. They are also supplemented with calcium, to strengthen their bones, so that they can carry all that “top” weight on their skinny legs.

THREE: Alberta Turkey producers have shared how to roast a whole turkey, in simple-to-follow steps. If you are like me, and can never remember how big you should buy, or about how long it should be in the oven, check out the videos on their website: They’ve compiled instructions from beginning (buying your Alberta Turkey) to end (storing the leftovers)!

Roasting your Thanksgiving Turkey

Provided by Alberta Turkey

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).

2. If stuffing the turkey, do so while the oven is preheating. Spoon stuffing lightly into turkey instead of packing firmly because stuffing expands while cooking. (Allow ½ cup (125 ml) of stuffing per pound (500 g) of turkey.)

3. Place turkey breast-up on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.

4. Roast uncovered, or loosely covered with foil. If you choose to baste your turkey, limit the number of times you open and close your oven (once per hour is sufficient).

5. Turkey is cooked when the meat thermometer reads 170°F (77°C) for an unstuffed turkey, or 180°F (82°C) for a stuffed turkey and the juices run clear. Insert meat thermometer in the thickest part of the inner thigh, but not touching the bone. When roasting, any stuffing placed in the cavity of the bird should read and internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C).

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