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Emory gives thanks for Heritage turkeys

Heritage breed turkeys, once considered the most critically endangered domestic animals of all time, have made resurgence with the help of Emory's annual Thanksgiving feast. By purchasing and consuming the once-endangered breed, Emory is helping to create a viable consumer market for Heritage turkey.

On Thursday, Nov. 17, about 2,000 Emory diners are expected to gobble up 1,600 pounds of Heritage turkey, recognized for its rich flavor, at the fourth annual Heritage Harvest Feast.

Guests dining in Cox Hall, the Dobbs University Center, the Faculty Dining Room, Café Montage and Lil's Dining Hall at Oxford between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. will feast on roasted Heritage turkey in herb pan gravy, butternut squash, winter greens gratin, Brussels sprouts with apples and bacon and sweet potato grits. All of the herbs and vegetables are locally sourced from Georgia farms. A Coca-Cola cake will complete the carte du jour. For staff and students on the run, convenient Grab and Go locations will feature Heritage turkey sandwiches and salads.

"Emory recognizes that by supporting small family farms, we are able to provide some of the freshest and high-quality foods in the Southeast to students and staff," says Patty Ziegenhorn, Emory's executive director of food service administration. "We are proud to be the first university to support the Heritage Turkey Project."

Emory has been working on this endeavor with its distributor, Heritage Foods USA, who acquires the birds from the Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch. Purchasing Heritage turkeys is consistent with the University's commitment to sustainable foods. Emory's sustainability vision calls for 75 percent local or sustainably grown food in Emory hospitals and cafeterias by 2015.

Heritage Harvest Feast festival of events

  • On Nov. 17 at 11:30 a.m., Kurt and Cassie Larson, representatives of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy and farmers from Little Creek Plantation, will lead a discussion at Food E U. "Rare breed turkeys: Eat them to save them" will examine and highlight the merits of humanely raised heritage breed turkeys followed by a Q&A session. Food E U is located on the main level of Dobbs University Center.
  • The lunch spread features dishes from the new cookbook "Basic to Brilliant, Y'all" by Atlanta-based author and TV producer Virginia Willis, who will dine at the Faculty Dining Room at noon.
  • At 2 p.m., Willis will read from "Basic to Brilliant, Y'all" and sign copies at Emory's Barnes and Noble bookstore.

Order a Heritage turkey for your table

White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, Ga. is selling free-range pastured Heritage breed turkeys for the holidays. Place an order with Julie Shaffer by Tuesday, Nov. 15 for pick up at the Emory Farmers Market on Tuesday, Nov. 22 from noon to 2 p.m.

Burn calories at the Turkey Trot

At the annual 5K Intramural Turkey Trot on Nov. 17, runners can expend calories before gorging themselves during their annual Thanksgiving feasts. Registration for the run begins at 4:30 p.m. at the Clifton Road entrance to verdant Lullwater park; the run begins at 5 p.m. There is no entry fee and individuals and teams will be scored. For details, email Recreational Services.

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