For Immediate Release - November 04, 2013

Support Massachusetts Farmers This Holiday Season with Locally Raised Turkeys

BOSTON – Monday, November 4, 2013 – With Thanksgiving only a few weeks away, the Patrick Administration encourages everyone to support local farmers by purchasing turkeys raised in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) is expecting approximately 62,000 turkeys at over 150 Commonwealth farms with a value of almost $3 million this year. Buying local turkeys makes a significant contribution to the Massachusetts economy, especially when served with other holiday favorites such as cranberries, potatoes, pumpkins, winter squash and apple cider. 

“Supporting local farmers during the holidays is a great way to offer healthy, quality food to your friends and family,” said DAR Commissioner Greg Watson. “Massachusetts turkeys are one of many autumnal favorites to celebrate the season.”

Not only is turkey a delicious centerpiece of a holiday meal, it offers significant nutritious value. A three ounce serving of skinless turkey breast, about the size of a deck of cards, has only 90 calories and one gram of fat along with 14 grams of protein, making it a fantastic protein source to incorporate into meal-planning. Dark meat contains more calories and saturated fat, but also is more nutrient-dense, especially with iron and protein.

Local turkeys also offer a little more than your typical supermarket bird. They feed on a more natural diet and get more physical activity, so they are leaner and more flavorful. Turkey in general is associated with reduced risk of heart disease, pancreatic cancer and reducing blood sugar fluctuation. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the tryptophan in turkey that makes people sleepy, it’s eating large amounts of food in the middle of the day.

When serving turkey, consider locally produced side dishes. Consider starting your meal with locally produced wine and cheese from Massachusetts vineyards and dairy farms or try incorporating a small percentage of the 210 million pounds of cranberries produced in state as a part of stuffing, cranberry sauce, muffins or even decoration. To find these local ingredients near you, check the MassGrown Map at http://www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/map.htm.

Despite the bounty of fall harvest tapering off in the colder weather, there is no reason to slack in local eating. There are plenty of events and markets to keep locavores busy through the winter. Check the MassGrown calendar for fun ways to immerse in the holiday food culture. Also, continue to support local farmers all through the winter by finding them using the MassGrown Holiday Page at http://www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/holiday-page.htm.

DAR’s mission is to ensure the long-term viability of agriculture in Massachusetts. Through its four divisions – Agricultural Conservation & Technical Assistance, Agricultural Markets, Animal Health, and Crop and Pest Services – DAR strives to support, regulate and enhance the rich diversity of the Commonwealth’s agricultural community to promote economically and environmentally sound food safety and animal health measures, and fulfill agriculture’s role in energy conservation and production. For more information, visit DAR’s website at www.mass.gov/agr, and/or follow at twitter.com/mdarcommish.