Why did the turkey cross the road? Because it was a Sonoma-raised heritage Bourbon doing a stage appearance and meet-and-greet at the Heritage Turkey Sunday Supper on Nov. 4.

He’s also trying to win the Chateau Montelena Vertical auction lot, we hear.

PC: The Bourbon Red turkey raised by Willie Benedetti (cq) of Willie Bird Turkeys is smaller and leaner than commercial turkeys that have been bred for their breast meat. FINAL VERSION
11/19/2003: D1: A Bourbon Red heritage turkey takes an extra 12 weeks to raise but is said to be more flavorful and juicier than today’s common broad-breasted whites.

Meet the stars of your Thanksgiving table at Atwood Ranch’s Heritage Turkey Sunday Supper in Glen Ellen. The evening features live turkeys raised by local 4-H/FFA students as part of the Slow Food Russian River’s Heritage Turkey Project. Kids from around the county raise rare historic breeds like Narragansett, Royal Palm and Midget White from poult to, well, plate.

11/20/2009: A1: Narragansett heritage turkey, center, raised by David Thode, 11, and his brother Zachary in Sebastopol as part of the Sonoma County Heritage Turkey project.
PC: A Narragansett heritage turkey, center, raised by David Thode, 11, and his brother Zachary in Sebastopol as part of the Sonoma County Heritage Turkey project.

The evening supper includes dishes from top Sonoma County Chefs Daniel Kedan (Backyard), John Stewart and Duskie Estes (Zazu), Bryan Jones (formerly of St. Francis Winery, Condra Easley (Patisserie Angelica) and Robb Ledesma (Worth Our Weight). Kedan said that some of the menu items included Stemple Creek brisket, smoked Liberty Duck legs with Bee Run Hollow delicata squash, turnip greens, roasted quince and apple jus.

Plus cider, beer and wine, appetizers, silent auction and “Foodie Chap” Liam Mayclem onstage (which is pretty entertaining if you’ve seen him at BottleRock).

All proceeds go to the young farmers who raised the turkeys, Slow Food Russian River programs and Worth Our Weight.

So what’s so great about heritage turkeys? They’re pretty distant cousins to the Broad Breasted Whites that we’re used to seeing on our Thanksgiving table. Bred to have big breasts and quick to mature, Broad Breasted is an industry standard. Turkeys that are more akin to their ancestors — with more traditional musculature (ie: they are able to walk and reproduce naturally) are usually considered “heritage breeds”, and are prized by turkey connoisseurs. It also helps endangered turkey species to once again flourish.

If you’re up for the turkey extravaganza, tickets are $100 per person. Tables of 10 can be purchased for $2,500 with specially curated wines and other goodies. Sponsored tables are also available for the fundraiser. Details at heritageturkeysupper.eventbrite.com or contact Julie Atwood Events at 707-318-7526.