This morning, Charlotte and I stopped by Provenance Farm (now coexisting with Hemphill Angus) to visit our friend Rachel Prickett and her turkeys. Have you ever been surrounded by 170 highly vocal, full-grown turkeys? It’s kind of a memorable experience. This particular flock of ‘Broad Breasted Whites’ was super friendly and curious. Charlotte, herself only twice the size of the birds, thought it was hilarious that they were pecking at her blue rubber boots.
I’ve written about Rachel and chickens before here and here, but I wanted to tip y’all off to the fact that she has a few of her pastured turkeys available for YOUR Thanksgiving (or Christmas or Tuesday night) table. These birds are about 18 weeks old and after processing, they’ll weigh between 12 and 20 pounds. They’ve been on genuine green grass their entire lives. Rachel reconfigures their hot fence every single day to allow them access to fresh pasture at all times. Currently, they’re following a few days behind part of the Hemphill Angus herd of cows (which I’ve written about here), and it obviously delights them to scratch through the cow pies, picking out fly larvae (one of the many benefits of mixed-species, rotational grazing). They also love to eat weeds alongside their daily ration of turkey scratch.
Turkeys have so much personality. Unlike Rachel’s broiler chickens who are mostly interested in how to eat as much as possible, these individuals came right up to check us out just for fun. I couldn’t stop myself from taking too many turkey-head portraits because they look like dinosaurs or ostriches or something. Hanging with turkeys is a really fun way to spend a morning.
In 2012, Rachel’s turkey flock suffered heavy losses to a disease commonly called ‘blackhead‘. Seemingly healthy birds were simply keeling over the whole way through from poults until a few days before Thanksgiving. She ended up with only 60 to butcher in the end. It was pretty disheartening, especially there wasn’t really anything she could do to prevent or treat the disease.
This year has been a big success after last year’s challenges in turkey rearing. Though there were a few casualties in the beginning, Provenance Farm is proud be offering more turkeys than ever before to their customers.
The scoop:Provenance Farm’s ‘Broad Breasted’ white turkeys (estimated 12-20 pounds each) are $4/pound. Turkeys are professionally processed and packaged including giblets. They will be fresh, never frozen. A $25 deposit (check or credit card) is required to reserve a turkey. They will be available for pickup in Philomath, OR on Monday (11-26) or Tuesday (11-26). Rachel will also deliver to Portland for pickup on SE Hawthorne Blvd. on Tuesday (11-26).
Call Rachel at (541) 231-5493 to reserve yours.