Starting mid-month more fresh turkeys will be available in supermarkets throughout this country than at any other point during the year. On the whole this is good news for anyone shopping for Thanksgiving as fresh is very often best.

Remove yourself from the supermarket for a minute and you might realize that the 15 pound T-day roaster you will probably eat on November 23rd is right now a 12 pounder on a farm somewhere that likely voted Red the last few Novembers. While planning helps the farmers get the birds bred and ready for this busy season, you as a customer can take advantage the same fixed date situation to order yourself the bird of your choosing. Think of it as ordering a tasty custom birthday cake as opposed to picking up whatever was available at the Dag’s when you popped by before the party.

By ordering your turkey directly from a farmer or an intermediary like Heritage Foods USA you can select one of the old fashioned breeds that specialize in taste as opposed to meat yield. Three excellent New York Times articles about these types of birds have been conveniently parked on this Slow Foods page. Not only do these old-timey birds taste great, their throwback names like Bourbon Red and American Bronze will make for fun conversation round the dinner table.

As far shopping possibilities, here are some options:

- Farmers Market: Numerous farmers, including Violet Hill and Quattro Farms at Union Square, allow you to place your order for pick-up at the market. Prices are between $4.00-$6.00 a pound.

- Heritage Foods USA: They represent a wide network of small farmers across these great United States. Hard to choose what the best feature is when ordering a turkey from these folks. Is it the fact that they helped keep the flame going on these birds the last few years, the web cam they have set up so you can watch your bird the next few weeks, or the delivery right to your door. Prices range from $12.00/pound for small birds to $8.00/pound for the larger ones.

- Local butcher: Any shop worth its weight in salt will be able to procure you a fancy bird at least one step up the latter from a supermarket turkey. Might be free range, possibly organic, or even a heritage breed. Check in and see what they can do for you.

In two weeks please look for part 2 of this column and there will be a run down of some popular methods of getting from the selection stage to the carving stage with taste and ease.