Fitness, Food, Wine & Travel

Meet the Diestels and their Turkeys!

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Last week, I was invited to a dinner, farm tour, and luncheon sponsored by Whole Foods and the Diestel Turkey Ranch. Also invited were other members of the media and freelance writers. Luckily, Andy was also able to join me for the trip. 🙂

Last year, I was introduced the the Diestel brand when Whole Foods sent me a tailor-made Paleo Thanksgiving dinner to try. It was so convenient. All we had to do was heat and eat. 🙂 I particularly liked the turkey that was sent in our meal. It was a Diestel Whole Naturally Oven Roasted Turkey. I was so impressed because I thought that by the time a pre-cooked bird would reach my plate after being reheated it would surely dry out. That was not the case. So, when I received the invite to tour where the turkeys are raised, I was more than happy to join it and promote a product I already knew and loved.

The Diestel story begins in 1949 when Jack Diestel began the ranch in Sonora (about 2 hours southeast of Sacramento). In the beginning Jack formulated the some not-so-secret family secrets that still remain in place to this day. They are as follows:

  • FAMILY SECRET #1 “Walk the flock every day,” Ernest would always say emphasizing an individual way of looking at the birds that has now been refined by years of practice.
  • FAMILY SECRET #2 Concentrate on the health of the birds. The freedom of the range provides plenty of exercise and fresh air while good husbandry and strict sanitation eliminate the need for artificial substances and techniques.
  • FAMILY SECRET #3 Don’t rush things. Give the turkey the time to develop flavor naturally. Instead of a high fat, high protein diet, Diestel Turkeys enjoy a wholesome vegetarian diet of grains mixed daily on the ranch, cool clean mountain water and an extra two months of growing time.
  • FAMILY SECRET #4 Never compromise quality. There are no shortcuts when producing a Diestel Turkey. Our attention to all of the little things reflects the commitment we make to bring the best possible product directly to you.”

Jack’s son Tim took on his principles and also learned from his father how to read the weather, when to put the turkeys out on the range, and how to handle the birds.

Today he and his wife Joan, along with their children, continue the tradition of naturally raising range grown turkeys on the family ranch. They take pride in being one of the last small family owned turkey grower-processors in the United States.

Diestel turkeys are grown longer than on other farms–This allows them to develop into broad breasted birds with maximum yield (all that delicious white meat we love) and superb flavor. The birds are also labeled on the bag as “Hen” or “Tom.”

Feed on the Diestel ranch is a low fat, all-American 100% vegetarian diet of US (no imports) corn and soybeans milled on the ranch – free of animal by-products, growth stimulants and hormones. The family feeds the birds what they need to be nourished–not the cheaper commercially pre-mixed feed.

It was such a memorable experience to walk around the ranch with the family and my fellow media. Simply put: it was such a happy place. I have never seen so many beautiful creatures living harmoniously in one place. Each one doing their part in the food chain, and everything in balance.

Besides the incredible meals we shared both at dinner the day before the tour, and at the lunch after the tour, my favorite part of being at the ranch was when we were asked to pick eggs from a hen shelter. We were given a half carton to fill with warm, newly laid eggs. It was so simple, but I just loved it. I think it’s because I love eating eggs and I knew how good these would taste. We were told to keep the eggs to take home. That evening, I hard boiled three of them to put in a dinner salad. They had the brightest yolks I have ever seen!

Why is a Diestel turkey better?

  • Because the turkeys live a happy life and allowed to eat and roam as they please.
  • Because they are given more time to grow (approximately 6 months) yielding more meat on the turkey and more flavor.
  • Because they are fed a low fat vegetarian diet of corn and soy, not commercial food pellets.
Diestel turkeys are fed a wholesome, low fat, all-American 100% vegetarian diet of US (no imports) corn and soybeans milled on the ranch – free of growth stimulants and hormones.
  • Because the turkeys are sustainably farmed with a focus on providing the best outcome for both our human and natural environments now.

I want to personally thank The Diestels (Tim, Joan, Jason, Garrett, and Heidi) for graciously hosting our trip and tour. I felt honored to be introduced and proud to promote your brand on my website.

You can follow the Diestels on twitter here and find them on Facebook here.


2 responses

  1. Hey Girly, I loved reading your post on your trip to the ranch! I sat across from you at Magnolia in Murphys the evening before your tour of the Diestel ranch. Wanted to stop by, say hey-ya and let you know I enjoyed meeting you and Andy. Your post is very thoughtful and touches on all the important attributes of quality meat. I appreciate your concern for quality food as well as quality lifestyle! Oh, and aren’t their chicken eggs the best? TOTAL evidence that you are what you eat….and your offspring is a product of what you eat too 🙂 I’m enjoying your site and will let you know if I try some of your recipes. Thanks again for your wonderful words!! 🙂

    – Julia (

    October 15, 2012 at 2:29 pm

  2. Pingback: Whole Foods Farm-to-Table Dinner «

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