At Harmons, we are proud of the relationships we forge with our partners, and we share a special one with Diestel Family Ranch, fourth-generation turkey farmers whose high-quality products we sell in our stores. In the latest episode of the Taste of Harmons Podcast, Heidi Diestel Orrock joins our hosts Chef Lesli Sommerdorf and Brandon Young to talk a little turkey. Well, to talk a lot of turkey.
The Diestel Difference
Diestel Family Ranch was officially founded in 1949 by Jack Diestel, and last year they celebrated their 70th anniversary. They are headquartered in Sonora, California, but they have numerous ranches throughout California, along with partner ranches in the Midwest.
Throughout the years they have always lived by a higher standard, raising birds without antibiotics, nurturing them with their proprietary feed made from wholesome plants like corn and soy that is free from animal by-products, antibiotics, and chemicals.
The Diestel family also uses a family “secret,” one they call “walk the flock.” (Since Heidi talks about it in the podcast, we are not giving anything away!) It involves getting in with the birds, looking at their health and happiness. Making sure their drinkers are clean and they have plenty of food, and quality pinewood shavings for bedding.
These are just a few of the fascinating things Heidi shares, and she also takes a lot of time to talk about how they embrace sustainable practices, including composting all their turkey waste, something that is fairly uncommon.
The Harmons and Diestel Partnership
As far as their end product, the idea for the pecan turkey they make was birthed in a dinner where they broke bread with Harmons Executive Chef Aaron Ballard. He served them one of their turkeys that he had smoked, low and slow, using pecan wood chips. They loved it so much that Heidi asked Chef Aaron if they could produce a pecan smoked turkey using his method, and the rest is history.
If you haven’t tried a Diestel turkey, you are missing out. Chef Lesli explains in a previous turkey talk why she only uses Diestel turkeys.
Thanksgiving Means a Diestel Turkey on the Table
Not surprisingly, Thanksgiving is one of Heidi’s favorite holidays, as it’s a time when families gather together around a turkey dinner and share what they are thankful for.
For more of the secrets that make Diestel turkeys so delicious, you’ll want to listen to the podcast. And don’t forget to order your holiday meal, featuring an amazing Diestel turkey. Whether you choose the heat-and-serve pecan-smoked whole turkey meal or the ready-to-roast traditional turkey dinner, you won’t be sorry.
If you enjoyed this podcast, you’ll want to listen to our other episodes. You can find them here.
Heidi Diestel Orrock
Heidi grew up working alongside her mom, Joan Diestel, working on the ranch, helping with customer service, and getting meat lovers excited about the bold taste of turkey at demos and trade shows across the country—when she wasn’t serving aces on the court.
Now that she’s at the helm of Diestel Family Ranch—and a mother herself—Heidi is more committed than ever to helping children and their families understand the power of good nutrition—and to put that power to use in their everyday lives.
For her, that starts with education. She continues to look for opportunities to work with schools on lunches, gardens, and nutritional programming.
“Family has been such an important part of my life,” she says, “I’m humbled to help to support yours.”
At Harmons, we are lucky to have incredibly talented artists at each store, and we’re sure you’ve seen their amazing chalk art as you wander throughout every location. We’re excited to be able to feature some of their work as the featured art on our podcast blog. This week’s art is by Ryann Myers from our Mountain View location.