farm turkeys

Turkeys at Esbenshade Turkey Farm

Selecting a turkey for Thanksgiving requires some small measure of forethought.

To go over the basics, we consulted Axel Linde, owner of the multifamily Lindenhof Farm poultry and cattle operation at 2194 Kirkwood Pike in Kirkwood.

On the 85-acre farm, Linde and his family raise steers, sheep, hogs, chickens and turkeys. This Thanksgiving, he’ll sell several hundred gobblers.

Here’s what he had to say.

What advice would you give to someone considering buying a fresh turkey from a farm, as opposed to a frozen turkey from a store?

It’s nice to know your source, where the birds are coming from. Support the locals, and talk to the farmer who raised it. Make sure there are no additives in the feed, no hormones.

How far in advance should you place an order with a farmer for a Thanksgiving turkey?

Within the next 7 days.

How long will a turkey keep after you pick it up?

Keep them on the lowest shelf in your refrigerator to stay cold. They should be good to go for eight or nine days.

How do you gauge size when purchasing a turkey?

The rule of thumb is 2 pounds per person if you want leftovers.


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As for what to do with the leftover turkey bones, Linde suggests this Basic Chicken Stock recipe, which works just as well for turkey. The stock recipe and others can be found at the Lindenhof Farm website,

Basic Chicken Stock

• 4 to 5 pounds chicken parts, including backs and wings, rinsed and dried

• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

• 2 medium yellow onions, quartered

• 2 crushed garlic cloves

• 1 medium to large carrot, cut into chunks

• ½ cup flat-leaf parsley

• 2 bay leaves

• 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled

• 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick (optional)

• 10 to 12 cups cold water

• Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

• If you wish to make a richly colored golden-brown stock make sure the chicken pieces are very dry. Put them in a stockpot with the olive oil and onions and set over medium heat. Brown slowly, turning frequently, until all the chicken and the onions are golden, 20 to 30 minutes.

• If, on the other hand, you want a clear, light chicken stock, omit this first step .000and simply put the chicken pieces in a stockpot.

• Add the garlic, carrot, parsley, bay leaves, thyme, cinnamon, water, salt and pepper.

• Set over medium-low heat and slowly bring to a simmer.

• For the clearest stock, carefully skim the foam as it rises to the top.

• When the foam has ceased rising, cover the pot and simmer very slowly for at least 1½ hours, or longer if necessary (chicken should be so thoroughly cooked that it is falling apart).

• At the end of the cooking time, strain the stock through a double layer of cheesecloth or a fine-mesh sieve.

• Discard the solids, which will have given up all their savor.

• Taste the stock and add more salt and pepper if you wish, but keep in mind that if stock is to be reduced later on it will concentrate the salt.

• Transfer the stock to the refrigerator to let the fat rise and solidify, after which it can be removed easily with a slotted spoon. Once the fat has been removed, the stock can be frozen.

Note: The cinnamon will add a delicious Mediterranean flavor to this soup but can be omitted if the stock is to be further reduced to be an all-purpose chicken stock base.

Michael Long welcomes email at Follow him on Twitter at @LPNFoodGuy.