We feel no need to reinvent the wheel or good writing, so unabashedly re-share this great article (that we could not find on the internet so transcribed and paraphrased here) from the November 2014 Edition of the Stockman GrassFarmer... by Joel Salatin (p. 10). Whom else?!
"What is it that makes a pastured turkey's meat moist?"
Answering the question specifically brings up numerous general issues about texture, taste, and eating quality. The universally tasteless, dry and cardboard-like texture of industrial poultry is axiomatic. ... Differences between herbivores and omnivores extend far beyond diet. Behavior, group size and exercise play a large role in flesh quality. As a context, let's see what the industry has done to diminish firm and moist meat qualities. First, group size increases. Second, exercise decreases. Third, diets are simpler. Fourth, air is filled with fecal particulate. Fifth, the salad bar- or any fresh greens- are no longer ingested. It stands to reason that if these five big changes are the culprit, then changing them would be the cure...
Group Size: In nature, turkeys group into a convenient size of somewhere between 20-100 individuals. You will never see a group of 1,000 wild turkeys. In the 20-odd years we've been raising pastured turkeys, about 400 seems to be the maximum number for one group without seeing aberrant and overly aggressive social behavior... Turkeys like to flock together, regardless of how big an area they have. The size of the flock carries social implications.
Exercise: Properly toned flesh is more moist and tasty. ... Turkeys need to roam. As a flock, they tend to move en masse from one area to another.
Complex Diets: In nature, poultry feeds on a wide variety of foodstuffs. Few things are as entertaining as watching a turkey chase down a June bug [or vole]. Amazingly, more often than not the turkey plucks the beetle right out of the air. I believe scavenging a healthy supplement of insect protein to the feed grain ration is a key to creating moist eating.
Fresh Air: This is where pastured poultry systems shine. And when I say pastured, I'm not talking about dirt yards. I am talking about green grass. ...texts say that deep breathing and fresh air affect blood flow and cleanliness, which affect(s) taste and texture...
Thanks Joel and Stockman, for an incredible and right-on article! Good Life turkeys have these quality-of-life considerations in spades, largely because mimicking natural systems is the foundation of our farm design and crop and livestock selection. We believe 100% in fresh air, green grass and exercise... take a look at our daily chore video if you want to see how this half lives!