This year, go from ranch to table at Thanksgiving. The world of excellent Bay Area poultry purveyors are providing San Francisco shops with fresh turkeys for those who plan ahead. The golden rule for the best Thanksgiving turkeys is to pre-order. Because most butchers contract with ranches for a fixed number of birds, waiting to place an order for a fresh turkey could place a frozen one in your oven instead. For handy definitions of free-range, organic, non-GMO, heirloom, heritage turkeys, visit Mary’s Turkeys, which are sold at Antonelli Bros. Meats at Cal-Mart in Laurel Village.
3445 California St.
San Francisco, CA 94118
Bryan’s Thanksgiving turkeys are sourced at Diestel Turkey Ranch, a fourth-generation family business of turkey growers and processors operating in the Sierra foothills of Sonora, Calif. since 1949. Diestel’s birds are raised on certified non-GMO feed from the ranch’s own mill. At Bryan’s, a few doors east of Cal-Mart, the tagline is “Quality Meats Since 1963,” and this grocer at the foot of Presidio Heights doesn’t disappoint — except when they’re closed on Sundays. Make sure to order your holiday turkey in advance; they will sell out. As a bonus, there’s free customer parking behind the store.
236 Cortland St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
A community anchor since 2007, this Bernal Heights meat market is ready to take orders for Thanksgiving turkeys throughout November. The birds are sourced from BN Ranch in Bolinas, California. Talk to them about how to cook the turkey you select from among the choice of heritage and broad breasted. Heritage birds are a gamier, more flavorful alternative with more dark meat, while the milder tasting broad breasted birds have more breast meat. Throughout the year, home chefs appreciate Avedano’s whole animal focus, in-house hand butchering and instruction classes.
1074 Illinois St.
San Francisco, CA 94107
Sourced from Branigan’s Turkeys, a free-range, family-owned ranch operating since 1942 in Woodland, Calif., these birds are available at only one San Francisco butcher. Olivier’s Butchery, founded in Dogpatch in 2010 in the city’s former meatpacking district, enjoys a fiercely loyal following. They regularly post cooking tips and recipes online. Call to discuss the right weight turkey to feed the number of guests at your dinner table. Bonus: There’s easy street parking in front of the Dogpatch store, usually closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
3639 18th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Bi-Rite turkeys are raised in an environmentally responsible manner at BN Ranch in Bolinas and Turlock, Calif. Direct descendants of Standard Bronze, Narragansett, and Spanish Black breeds, these birds are offered alongside broad-breasted white turkeys, which have a larger ratio of white meat. Pre-ordering opens in late October and collection can be arranged from Bi-Rite’s original Mission District location or from the second location at 550 Divisadero St.
1998 Polk St.
San Francisco, CA 94109
Since 2012, Belcampo is a farm at the base of Mt. Shasta, a processing plant, a neighborhood butcher shop, and a restaurant as well. The Belcampo meat pros partner with BN Ranch (as in Bill and Nicolette Niman) to raise a limited selection of free-range, broad-breasted white and heritage turkeys. There’s no corn, no GMOs, in the birds’ vegetarian diet. As Belcampo explains, “These birds roam freely, which allows them to exhibit natural behaviors and forage for food, ultimately producing full-flavored, succulent meat.”