In 1621, the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags celebrated their “first” Thanksgiving together. According to many historians, though, turkey may have not actually been the main dish of their feast. Although there are some records that indicate that turkey was prevalent in North America at the time, venison, fish, or other small fowl were most likely served. However, in the journal of William Bradford, the first governor of the Pilgrims, recorded that turkey was a part of the meal. His journal indicated that turkey was readily accessible at the time.
Sarah Josepha Hale, the poet of “Mary Had a Little Lamb, was an advocate for making Thanksgiving a national holiday She personally wrote a letter to President Abraham Lincoln and the Secretary of State, William Seward, to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday. Her writings proved successful; in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday. Hale also promoted turkey as being the main part of the Thanksgiving feast. In her book, _Northwood_, she spent an entire chapter discussing the eating of turkey.
Unbeknownst to the Pilgrims and early settlers of the time, the turkey they were consuming was the healthiest version of it. According to [The World’s Healthiest Food ](http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=125) website, pasture-raised turkey is ranked third on the protein richness list. One could find about 34 grams of protein in a skinned, baked turkey breast, totally up to over two-thirds of the daily value. The protein content will vary depending upon which part of the bird one consumes. This is due to the workload of the muscle and the fat content found in the muscle.
In terms of the fat content in turkey, omega-3 fats are prevalent. Pasture-raised turkey is recommended for consumption because the turkeys are able to graze upon these fatty acids in plants, insects, and other resources in pasture settings. A unique omega-3 fatty, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), can be found in pasture-raised turkeys. This fatty acid has the ability to aid in nerve function. Adding to the nutrient content, all of the B vitamins can be found within. These would include B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, folate, biotin, and choline.
It is important to note that the nutrient content of the turkey is sensitive to its diet. The numbers listed above are based off of turkeys that have been naturally raised. It is also important to note that a label that reads “organic” in the store does not mean that it has been raised naturally.
Unfortunately, there has not been as much research conducted on turkeys as there has been on its neighbor bird, the chicken. The studies that have been conducted report that turkey can help regulate blood sugar levels and does not cause an increased risk in cancer.
Thank you to all of those who purchased one of our pasture-raised turkeys this year. We hope that you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Thank you to all of our customers who read the newsletter, visit us at market, and let us deliver to you. Each of you are a blessing to our business!