• Cornell Cooperative Extension
  • Food
  • Meat
The leaves have peaked. The air has chilled. The clocks have fallen back.

It’s undeniably November, and everyone’s talking turkey – including the “Extension Out Loud” podcast from Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Offering a bird’s-eye view of the turkey scene in New York state, hosts Katie Baildon and Paul Treadwell are joined by Mo Tidball, a nutrition educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension Seneca County and the creator of the Wild Harvest Table website. An expert on all things turkey, Tidball raises and sells heritage breed, free-range turkeys on her Seneca Falls farm.

According to the National Turkey Federation, 240 million turkeys were raised in the U.S. in 2019; 88% of Americans consume turkeys on Thanksgiving. Tidball said most farm-raised turkeys in the U.S. are one of two breeds: large whites and broad breasted bronzes. 

For Tidball, though, the preferred birds for her Thanksgiving feast are the Eastern wild turkey – the native turkey in the northeastern U.S. – and heritage breeds, which are “breeds of turkey that were developed over the last century and a half,” including Bourbon reds, black turkeys and others.

Regardless of the kind of bird at the feast, Tidball advocates relying on local foods to fill the table. “It really should be a celebration of all local foods that you can find … which all were part of the original Thanksgiving,” she said.

Full episodes of “Extension Out Loud,” including descriptions and transcripts of each episode, are available online. Episodes also are streamed on Apple Podcasts and SoundCloud.

This article also appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.

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