A few of the Broad Breasted White turkey poults being raised at P.O.P. Acres
If your taste runs to pasture-raised turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas, now’s not too early to start thinking about where you’ll get one. July is when the poults (that’s what the turkey chicks are called) arrive at local farms to start putting on the pounds.
In fact, Don and Jackie King at P.O.P. Acres in Purdon have just received their first batch of some 30 Broad Breasted Whites and will probably add some Bourbon Red Turkeys to their flock later in July. At Rehoboth Ranch near Greenville, Robert Hutchins already has about 100 Bourbon Reds in the pasture and plans to add about 300 of the Broad Breasted variety in mid-July.
Bourbon Reds are a heritage breed and have grown in popularity since being placed on Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste, which is a list of foods in danger of extinction.
The Broad Breasted Whites are the most popular breed and the kind found in your grocery store freezer. But unlike the turkeys at P.O.P. Acres and Rehoboth, the ones in the stores are usually raised in barns that house as many as 10,000 birds in close confinement. Often they have their beaks cut off to discourage aggressive behavior and are given antibiotics to control the infections caused by close confinement.
“Raising the Broad Breasted Whites on pasture rather than in a confinement house gives the bird the best of both worlds,” Jackie King said. “The meat has a better texture from being raised on pasture and it has the additional white meat most people like.”
At P.O.P Acres the Kings are feeding the birds a certified organic feed with all plant ingredients and 24% protein. “Our feed rations do not contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and we do not use antibiotics. When the chicks are old enough they will be placed in a corral in the pasture and given a large area to roam.”
It’s the same story at Rehoboth where the turkeys are antibiotic-free, have continuous access to the pasture and are fed organic grains.
P.O.P. is taking orders on line now for Thanksgiving. Rehoboth will be taking orders in August, but you can go to their website and sign up to be alerted as soon as they begin taking orders.