Daron Babcock, executive director of Bonton Farms, wants you to consider free-range over freezer. The urban farm in South Dallas is home to a rafter of about two dozen freewheeling turkeys, raised by farmer Johnny McElroy without hormones or antibiotics.
In time for Thanksgiving, you can buy them and their eggs, which are ideal for baking and cost $2 each. Then pick out and harvest your own turkey, or have the farm do it for you. Those who want to choose their bird can wander the grounds and select their favorite gobbler for $5 per pound—the turkeys generally weigh 10 to 14 pounds. If your preference is more hands-off, Bonton will do the picking and processing for $6 per pound. The farm uses a state-licensed processing facility 45 minutes south of Dallas, and, after the turkey is prepared, recommends freezing it until Thanksgiving.
“There’s a trend—I hope it’s not a fad—where people are wanting to get closer to the source of their food,” Babcock says of the pasture-raised animals, whose diet consists of grass, weeds, seeds, and bugs, and is supplemented with an organic grain mixture. “There’s a desire to reconnect with the land that their food comes from. That has created a much more responsible consumer.”
The farm, which offers tours of the produce-rich property, is opening a fresh-food market and cafe, the first of its kind in the neighborhood. Seasonal veggies that’ll be growing in time to get your Thanksgiving sides there, too, include collard greens, beets, turnips, radishes, carrots, and broccoli. Now your holiday meal can come straight from the sources.
Turkey eggs are $2 each, and turkeys are up to $6 per pound (supplies are limited). Bonton Farms is open Monday through Saturday, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, and at the Dallas Farmers Market on weekends.