Friday, September 7, 2012

Holiday Turkeys

It's September - and already people are thinking about their holidays. Of course, my mind is on Halloween! But others are contemplating other fabulous holidays, like Thanksgiving! So, to kick off your Thanksgiving planning, here is the deposit form for Turkeys.  Like always, we can promise an exact size, but we really do out best. For reference, they generally state that you need 1 pound per person eating. Realizing that some of the weight of the bird is going to be bones and such, so that doesn't mean each person is eating a pound of meat, though I know a lot of folks could! You can round that up or down based on how many leftovers you would like to have.

Some info about our birds - we raise 2 types of birds. One is called "Heritage" which means they come from a long line of registered breeds that can breed on their own, and have some traceability back to wild turkeys. There are 6 recognized breeds by the American Poultry Association, and we have a few of those on the farm - Bourbon Reds, Black Spanish, White Holland, Narragansett, Blue Slate and Royal Palm. We have bred our own birds this year, from a few small hens and toms we kept last year. I don't segregate my breeds, so mine are mostly mixed breeds from those few. But they are the same size and quality as a registered breed. Since we also have a resident wild tom that I am sure has been successful in breeding, many of our hatches might have him as their father. If a heritage bird is what you want, keep in mind that the hens are usually 8-12 pounds in size, and the toms are typically 15-18 pounds. And no, we will not catch the wild one to sell, he doesn't belong to us, and he stays here by choice.

The other breed of bird is called a broad-breasted, or double breasted turkey. These guys are genetic hybrids, just like our chickens, bred specifically to grow an extra breast muscle. These are the big turkeys that have that big round chest and look great on your holiday table. I struggle with getting the size just right on these guys. Two years ago, they grew way too big, and no one wanted 30 pound turkeys! Last year I overcompensated and got them way too late, and most never topped 20 pounds. I got them a bit earlier this year, and am hoping the toms will come in around that perfect 25 pound size that a lot of people want. It's too early to tell, as they are still quite small, but they grow so much faster than their heritage cousins.  We don't have as many double breasteds as I often get, so the large ones are going to be at a minimum. If you want a bird betwee 9-15 pounds, I will have plenty of them. And what we don't sell, we keep as next year's breeding stock!

If you want a holiday turkey - we process them the weekend before Thanksgiving, so you can pick them up fresh, and not have to defrost it!  If you want one for a subsequent holiday, we can freeze them for you, and you can make arrangements to pick them up.  If you are interested, the sign up form is HERE