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Rick and Sue Duerksen have been raising turkeys since 1979, celebrating the 40th anniversary of Duerksen Turkey Farm in Mancelona in 2019. They know a thing or two about healthy, happy birds. Duerksen turkeys actually live on the pasture—16 acres to be exact—and are fed ryegrass, alfalfa, red clover and other essential grasses. This ensures that Duerksen turkeys eat only a natural vegetarian diet, which is a verified non-GMO feed, and are never exposed to antibiotics or growth hormones.

This year, Rick and Sue are raising 4,100 turkeys, to be sold directly from their farm and through local retail outlets. Ordering directly from the Duerksens begins in the middle of September for farm pickup, and turkeys always sell out at the farm. (If you can’t get a turkey directly from the Duerksens this year, mark your calendar now as a reminder to order earlier next year.) Order online at duerksenturkeyfarm.com or send a message via Facebook. In the past, the Duerksens have served cider and doughnuts on turkey pickup day, but this year, due to COVID-19, that tradition will be put on pause. The farm will be following safety guidelines—masks, social distancing, contactless pickup options and no money transfers (pay with a credit card, exact cash or check).

Duerksen turkeys are also available at Oryana’s Traverse City stores, Martin’s Market in Charlevoix, Grain Train in Petoskey and Willow Market & Meats in Cadillac. Downstate, Duerksen turkeys are sold at Marrow, Detroit’s two-time James Beard Award-nominated restaurant and butcher shop, along with GreenTree Cooperative Grocery in Mt. Pleasant, R&J’s Best Choice Marketplace of Houghton Lake, Green Pastures Market in South Lyon, Farmstop—an online grocery store serving the Detroit area—and Grist Mill in Cannonsburg.

Sue Duerksen shared her Thanksgiving turkey recipe with us. Here’s how to cook the perfect turkey.