What does “free range” mean?
There is a federal government bulletin that defines free range. Turkeys have unlimited access to the outdoors, they have access to forage, they are not administered or fed any antibiotics, they are fed no animal by-products and they are fed no hormones
What does “certified organic” mean?
The protocol includes all the free range protocol and further prescribes the space required for turkey production. Both inside and outside space. All the feed and feed ingredients are approved by a third party certification body. There is restricted use of disinfectants and other products or procedures as described by the organic certification body.
Why are Winter’s turkeys so flavourful?
We feed our turkeys longer, 16 to 20 weeks. They are fed mostly whole grain. Whole grain makes up over 65% of their diet and 90% of their finishing ration. Our birds need access to grit so the birds can process their own feed. We allow them to mature as nature intended. The birds are allowed to grow slower and longer and they develop an excellent finish resulting in a natural basting bird that makes a delicious gravy.
What is a heritage turkey?
This is a bird registered as heritage. Some breeds date back to the 1700’s. They are slower growing and smaller birds. The first criterion is that heritage turkeys are able to mate naturally with no intervention from humans, and with expected fertility rates of 70-80%.
What is an heirloom turkey?
This would be a turkey from the non commercial breeds.
Are Winter’s Turkeys antibiotic free?
Yes. It is part of the guideline for free range and is required for certified organic.
Are your birds outside?
Yes. Our birds have unlimited access to the outdoors to meet the appropriate guidelines and our standards of care for their well being.
What are your turkeys fed?
Our turkeys are fed a feed program that was developed by Darrel’s dad and perfected over the years. Winter’s Turkeys are fed a whole grain diet with a primarily whole wheat base.
Our free range birds are fed commercial wheat, commercial soy meal and minerals. Soy meal is an ideal food for turkeys as it meets their dietary needs and it is very high in protein. Non GMO soy meal is difficult to source.
Our organic turkeys are fed organic wheat, organic soy meal and minerals.
There is no corn in the turkeys diet.
When are Winter’s fresh turkeys available?
Fresh turkeys are available Thanksgiving and Christmas week. The rest of the year our turkeys and further processed turkey is available frozen.
Where are Winter’s Turkey products available?
Please check our list of distributors.
How old are Winter’s turkeys when they are marketed?
As a rule our turkeys are 16 to 20 weeks old depending on the size we require. Most commercial hen flocks are marketed at 13 weeks. This extra time ensures more flavour and a moister bird.
Why do Winter’s turkeys cook faster?
Cooking time depends on many variables. Our turkeys cook faster because they are moister.
Fresh or frozen?
The quality of a frozen turkey depends entirely on how good it was before it was frozen. We cannot tell the difference between one of our fresh turkeys and one of our frozen birds. My position is our birds are the best choice. If our bird is not available fresh then one of our frozen turkeys is your next best choice. See next item for thawing instructions.
How do you thaw a Winter’s frozen turkey?
Thawing requires 1 hour per pound or 2 hours per kg in cold water. I recommend a 20 litre pail, picnic cooler or some suitable container. Fill it with cold water and keep in a cool area. Thawing in the refrigerator requires 5 hours per pound or 10 hours per kg.
What is a self basting turkey?
Technically a “self basting” turkey has been injected with some edible fat or liquid. It is most often margarine, canola oil, broth or flavour enhancers. Our turkeys are naturally basting due to their excellent finish.
How do you safely store a fresh turkey?
A fresh turkey can be safely stored until the ‘Best Before Date’ in a very cold fridge, less that 3 degrees Celsius, or preferably in a cooler packed with ice and kept in a cool place or in your freezer in an insulated bag.
How long can a fresh turkey be kept before cooking?
Our turkeys can be kept fresh only until the ‘Best Before Date’.
How do you remove the small plastic piece holding the legs together?
To remove the plastic piece simply push in and turn, similar to a fish hook, and remove. This piece is food safe so you are able to cook the turkey with the piece if you wish.
Can I freeze a fresh turkey?
A fresh turkey is best frozen immediately after purchase and certainly prior to the ‘Best Before Date’.
How long can I keep my turkey in the freezer?
We recommend cooking your frozen turkey within 12 months, however if well frozen, your bird will be fine for up to 2 years.