The Gunthorp family is always looking for ways to make their farming practices more conscientious, which translates to even tastier turkeys.
Most of the poultry you find at the grocery store goes through a giant processing plant that uses large amounts of chlorine and other chemicals to make sure the bird is bacteria-free. By contrast, the Gunthorps built a small proessing plant on their farm so they could clean the birds naturally, with water alone -- no chlorine. It's more time-consuming, but their dedication to chemical-free flavor makes the extra time worthwhile.
The Gunthorp family in La Grange, Indiana has been in the business of farming since before the Great Depression, raising their animals on pasture the entire time, even as industrial production boomed around them and threatened to put pasture-based farmers out of business.
The pressure came to a head in 1998, when Greg Gunthorp was selling his pigs -- he only raised pigs back then -- into the "commodity market" for just five cents a pound. Five cents was the going rate for pigs, whether you raised them in overcrowded, closed barns or on pasture; and incredibly, that 5-cent rate was less than Greg's grandfather earned per pound in the 1920s.
Greg and the rest of the family faced a bleak choice: quit farming or make a dramatic change. So they did the latter.
The Gunthorps realized they could stay in business and keep their farm pasture-based with three steps. One, have every member of the family chip in. Two, diversify to raise poultry too. Three, offer their meat directly to top restaurants in Chicago, including Charlie Trotters (and now to Crowd Cow customers).
Every year, Greg and Lei Gunthorp raise broad-breasted white turkeys on pasture at their family farm in northern Indiana. The flock (or, more accurately, the "rafter") is raised entirely without the use of hormones or antibiotics, roaming free on Certified Organic pasture to forage for grasses and bugs. The birds also enjoy a supplementary, "free choice" non-GMO turkey feed that the Gunthorps source from local farmers.
By asking local farmers to grow non-GMO corn and soybeans for their turkeys, with a guarantee that they'll buy it year after year, the Gunthorps have created local demand for non-GMO crops in an area where GMO grains dominate the farming landscape.
Keep reading below for what makes Gunthorp turkeys more delicious than anything you've ever bought from the grocery store.