The Best Turkey in Toronto
The best place to buy a turkey in Toronto - for Thanksgiving, Christmas or some other occasion - is NOT Loblaws, Metro, Longo's, Sobeys, Rabba, No Frills or any other major grocery outlet that sell mass market, mostly frozen, so-large-they-can't-even-walk on their own two legs birds. Instead, it's local, local, local, all the way.
But that's just the beginning of the story. In addition to remaining close to home, it's important to consider how the turkey is raised. The last thing I want on my plate is meat that'll make me feel guilty and 90% of the following shops are doing everything in their power to make sure that any turkey hangover will be hormone, antibiotic, and stress free. And for those who need to go one more step into the full on organic or wild world that's also an option (although, to be honest, who really knows what a wild turkey eats - it might be worse). And if all else fails, there's always the free turkey giveaway at Honest Ed's.
Here are the best places to buy a turkey in Toronto.
Having established itself as part of the Queen West firmament upon opening 5 years ago, The Healthy Butcher never disappoints. It has naturally raised, grain fed, anti-biotic and hormone free turkey as well as organic turkeys (same as naturally raised but not grain fed – grass?) available. They also have a second Toronto location near Eglinton and Avenue Road. More »
One of the most beautiful butcher shops I’ve ever been in, Cumbrae’s screams quality and take their meat very, very seriously. With two locations (on Church and on Bayview) in Toronto, picking up a free-roam, grain fed turkey that’s fresh daily shouldn’t be too hard. But if you want something very specific, it’s always best to order ahead. More »
Open only a year but going strong, owner Peter, a chef for 15 years before jumping into the butcher trade, has the cutest, best smelling meat shop in Toronto! He offers both free range, grain fed turkeys from Hayter Farms and grassfed organic turkeys from Dragonfly Farms, and it’s best to order at least a week in advance. Even earlier for the organic turkey from Dragonfly. More »
In the weeks before Thanksgiving, this massive shop in the heart of St. Lawrence Market will sell between 500-1000 turkeys and while they "don’t believe in organic meats because they don’t exist", their turkeys are free range, grain fed, federally inspected grade “A” birds that’ll be available up until a few days before the holidays for pre-order or until all gone at retail. More »
To grab a wonderful bird from Rowe, head to one of their stores in Leslieville or on Roncesvalles. Once there, you'll be rewarded with anti-biotic free, free range, stress free, indoor bred turkeys that are air chilled (none of that water chilled nonsense here) and promise to be super moist and yummy. More »
Around since 1929, you’d think this place would have its act together, but it was quite the opposite when I recently visited. With 3 people working, none could tell me whether the birds were local, organic, free range, grain fed, anti-biotic free or even where they came from. They assured me they were never frozen and there would be two types available but that was it. Your call. More »
Landing in the cool column because of the back windows that let you see how your meat is prepared, this Kensington butcher isn’t the prettiest and its signage is barely discernable, but it has been around since 1976 so it’s doing something right. It offers grain fed, free range turkeys from local farms in Ontario and suggests at least one or two days before the holidays as the last day to order. More »
This extremely attractive store about 2 km east of the equally lovely Summerhill LCBO won awards in 2009 for its quality foods and their turkeys are no exception. You can special order an organic bird by giving them a call, but all others are free range, 15lbs plus walking vessels of goodness from Bill’s Turkey Farm in Queensville, ON. They also graciously include instructions so not even the novices among us can screw it up! More »
Winner of the “Most Jovial Staff I Came Across” and the “Most Like A Walled Castle” award for their super high fridges that only the tallest can peek over, this St. Lawrence Market standby (since 1953) will only say that their turkeys are fresh, from Ontario and need to be ordered at least five days in advance of the holidays to guarantee it will be on the table when necessary. More »
This long, large, very old-fashioned butcher shop on Bloor West is jam packed with stuff and advertisements for its free run, grain fed turkeys are everywhere you turn once inside. I don’t know where they get their turkeys from but honestly, if it’s good enough for Matt Galloway, it’s good enough for me. More »
Located on a 2 block village like stretch of shops just south of O’Connor at the top end of Donlands, Fresh from the Farm is all about hormone and drug free meat from Amish and Mennonite farms and in addition to turkey has duck, goose, lamb and ham available (as do most others on this list). 4 days before the holidays is generally your last day to grab one unless you feel lucky. Do ya? Punk? More »
Located in the Junction, this small, tightly packed butcher has more tchotchkes in the window than my grandmother’s entire house, and more turkey references than you can shake a drumstick at. Kidding aside though, their 4 generations in the business means they know their turkey and it’s natural all the way. Definitely a go to place. More »
Around since 1996 and in its expanded location since 2003, Meat On The Beach is a full service grocery store that is as neighbourhoody as it gets. Offering local, free range, hormone and anti-biotic free, naturally raised turkey, second generation butcher and owner Ernesto will gladly answer any and all turkey related questions you may have. More »