Eating turkey is such an integral part of the holiday season in the US, that I knew a year ago I had to find the right turkey farmers for Grounded by the Farm. My family has big Thanksgiving every other year, where we have several turkeys and a crowd enjoying it.
While my brother raises a turkey or two now and then, I’ve never been to a turkey farm and I love learning about the foods I enjoy. So yes, even before the show existed, I knew I would be doing this interview. And the other ideas kept coming so it became a series of interviews focused on various things that could end up on a holiday plate.
Meet Our Turkey Farmer — John Peterson
John Peterson is the third generation to work Ferndale Farms & Ferndale Market. He points out his grandparents, Fern & Dale, started the farm in Cannon Mills, MN more than 80 years ago and his parents still live on the farm. While his sister & he are evolving things, John takes a lot of pride in honoring a lot of the past including offering outdoor environments for the birds.
(Photo at right is John with his dad Dick on the farm.)
This is the peak season for Ferndale, getting birds ready for sale through a range of suppliers and restaurants for the holidays. Luckily, we caught John in September so he could talk us through working with pulots (baby turkeys) in the spring just after they break through the egg shell to a range of market weights for our tables. He also offers insight on the differences in fresh and frozen turkeys, how to handle so food safety isn’t a problem and he even offers tips for buying your Thanksgiving turkey.
Connecting with Ferndale Farms & Market
- Ferndale Market‘s website
- Ferndale Market on Facebook
- Ferndale Market on Instagram
- Video Overview of Ferndale Farms
Where to Find Grounded by the Farm on Social Media
- GroundedbytheFarm.com for photos, blog posts, show notes and more
- Ask the Farmers Facebook Page
- Groundedbythefarm_ on Instagram
- Grounded by the Farm on Youtube
- @groundedbythef on Twitter
Raw Transcript of the Turkey Farm Episode
Grounded by the Farm 00:02
Food is more than just what’s on our plate. It’s the places where it’s grown. It’s the people who grow it and so much more. Join me, Janice person, your host on Grounded by the Farm every other week as we talk about the foods we love. All right here we are another episode in the holiday series for 2020. And I’m so excited to be talking to a turkey farmer in Minnesota of all places. We talked back in September because as you can imagine, with so many of us looking to get our Thanksgivings underway, he is pretty darn busy these days. Not only does john Peterson and his family have Ferndale farm, but they operate ferndown market, which enables people to go in and buy products directly from their farm and from some others in their communities. So it’s a pretty neat setup they have going on. I really love how he talks through the season, starting with chick and talking about how they choose to raise the turkeys they have on the farm. But I also appreciate that he is willing to talk about some of the things around food safety and different things on tips for people who may not have cooked their turkeys themselves this year with some of us taking smaller holidays than in the past. I think maybe his tips will be especially helpful for some of us. All right, here we go with john Peterson.
John Peterson 01:31
Yeah, well, you’re you’re exactly right. If we if we had attempted to do this any closer to Thanksgiving, I, I might have missed the call and you’re busy would be the appropriate word for our our November. And, you know, we’re we’re just sort of busy on all fronts. I mean, we have, you know, the farm piece. And so we’re, of course really busy getting turkeys ready for for Thanksgiving tables. But then we have our own farm store. And so we’re actively taking orders from customers that are going to be picking up a fresh thanksgiving turkey. And we also wholesale our turkeys to retailers and restaurants across the region. So we’re busy distributing turkeys as well. So it’s sort of like a, you know, all of the puzzle pieces that are in the air, and we’re working hard and then juggling to get them to fall into the right place.
Grounded by the Farm 02:13
Well, let’s start talking about the farm part first. A lot of people have seen like chicken barns. But what does a turkey farm look like? I’ve seen some videos from your place. And we’ll put that in the show notes. So people will get a visual, but let’s describe what it looks like in words.
John Peterson 02:31
Yeah, absolutely. So So our farm happens to be about 140 acres, our farm is in some ways similar to the way another farm would be would be set up in terms of how turkeys flow through our farm. And we’ll talk about that. But probably the biggest visual point of difference is that our turkeys are grown free range, so they spend at least second half of their life completely outdoors. So I’ll first talk about the parts that would be similar all in all turkeys, probably anywhere would start out in a brooder barn, where they’ll spend about the first month of their life in a really warm, clean barn, we’re doing a lot of hand feeding, hand watering to keep them comfortable and make sure that all those really immediate needs are satisfied. And then when they’re about a month or so old, we move them into more of a transitionary type barn where they’ll start in our case start to have outdoor access and they’re you know, a little bit more self sufficient at that age and certainly more more able to withstand temperature variation and things like that. And so those pieces would be pretty similar on any type of a any type of a turkey farm. The piece that comes next for us is that during the nicer weather our birds would be then moved out to to a range to a pasture or they would then spend the rest of their life and move through that range pasture about every week or so. On the fresh grass.
Grounded by the Farm 03:42
You said you start with a brooder barn So does that mean you guys get a lot of young turkeys delivered from like a hatchery or something?
John Peterson 03:52
It does and that’s a that’s a great question to ask because we used to hatch our own turkeys. In fact, I mentioned that we’ve been on our farm for 81 years and so of course the you know, first portion that was my my grandfather who got our farm started and his real love was hatching baby turkeys sort of the the science of you know of handling an egg and then incubating that egg into a healthy Turkey. A poult is the term for a baby Turkey. About 13 years ago stopped hatching our own it was just a incredibly labor intensive piece of the farm because we had to be picking eggs every hour those hens laying lots of eggs and we were picking them and bringing them to the to the incubator I I sometimes say that I spend most of my time growing up picking turkey eggs off of nests. We get out of that about 13 years ago and now you’re correct. We source all of our poultry. Within a day of their hatching they pack their way out of the egg and within a day they arrive on our farm and they are custom hatched for us. So they arrive on the farm and then we take it from there.
Grounded by the Farm 04:50
Right. I think a lot of people have probably heard friends or something talk about getting backyard chickens, and they get them as baby chicks and they raise them up from that. So it’s Very similar to, to that even on a backyard basis so people could raise backyard turkeys maybe
John Peterson 05:07
why get into it you got a good place to get turkeys?
Grounded by the Farm 05:10
Well tell me some of the differences with turkeys because for some reason I think the noise level might be really different.
John Peterson 05:17
Yeah, so this is a funny thing. I’ve spent my whole life around turkeys and really not around any other poultry or fowl species. So I don’t I don’t actually have a very good comparison people oftentimes ask me, you know how turkeys compared to chickens. And one of the funny things growing up, you know on a commercial turkey farm is that, you know, we were always taught to stay away from other birds because they could be carriers of something that could get into a flock of turkeys. I don’t know quite how they compare. But I do know turkeys can make a lot of noise. You’re right, you’re right about that jazz. And turkeys are so curious. I think that’s really the defining personality trait for turkeys. They’re just incredibly curious. When we are in a flock of turkeys. They’re always excited to see us and curious know what we’re up to and you know, generally following us around and oftentimes that includes a lot of noise making.
Grounded by the Farm 06:08
My niece wanted to know that turkeys that we’re buying, are they all male or all female or a combination of those things are? Yeah, we all see the turkeys as having that nice, beautiful tail to like show off.
John Peterson 06:22
Yeah, yeah, you’re nice has a great question here. Typically, most typically the turkey that you would purchase as a whole Turkey and would typically be a hen of female Turkey. With few exceptions. You know, on Thanksgiving, we do have some Tom’s male turkeys that would be sold as a whole Turkey. But typically, folks are looking for smaller size turkeys and that would you know, that would come from a hen. And then our Tom’s are more oftentimes more of a meat type turkey that we would grow to a larger size for more cut up or boneless products.
Grounded by the Farm 06:54
How long does it take for a turkey to go from that? What is the baby called again? Yeah. Yep. How long does it take from that to market weight? Or to your sales? Wait?
John Peterson 07:07
Yeah, it’s anywhere from about four to six months, depending on whether it’s the header of time and then the size that the size that we’re growing them to for six months.
Grounded by the Farm 07:16
I guess that the cycle for Thanksgiving is probably the biggest driver of Turkey sales. I’m gonna guess
John Peterson 07:24
you are correct. Yes. I
believe for sure.
John Peterson 07:29
Yeah. And and on Thanksgiving is the the pinnacle of the of the holidays and the turkey world. I always say our year starts and ends on Thanksgiving. And you know, as a farm focused on, you know, sustaining what we do, we’re always looking for ways that we can continue to bring demand into other portions of the year. And so we’ve added a lot of other turkey products that can really help give us you know, 12 months of foundation, but you are absolutely right. Thanksgiving is is certainly the time that every family in America thinks about purchasing a whole Turkey.
Grounded by the Farm 07:58
Yes. In addition to Thanksgiving, what are the other drivers? Well,
John Peterson 08:03
nationally, you’re exactly right, that, you know, the per capita consumption of Turkey is driven in large part by like deli sandwiches. And I think people are oftentimes they may struggle to think of times beyond Thanksgiving that they eat turkey and yet, how often do you go in order, you know, Turkey sob or something like that. So those are ways that a lot of you know a lot of the turkey would be consumed 12 months a year, we do some of those products, we make a milk turkey breast and a roasted turkey breast that are great for sandwiches and salads and things. But we’ve also tried to do things like Turkey snack sticks and Turkey hotdogs, you know, items like that, that that are really good for families on the goal for kind of that convenience that folks are looking for and food today.
Grounded by the Farm 08:48
I think Turkey has a good kind of nutritional outline, right? I mean, people talk about it making you sleepy a lot of the times like that’s the biggest thing about Turkey but really it’s a good lean protein.
John Peterson 09:01
Absolutely. Yeah, the for sure. That is one of Turkey’s real strengths. And you know what, it’s subbed in for other proteins awfully Well, our turkey hotdog, for example, or our turkey snack sticks carry the same kind of a great flavor that you would expect from a you know, hotdogs nextech made with another protein, because turkey does take on those other flavors really well. And yet it is incredibly lean. I do just have to say that, you know the the notion that Turkey makes everybody sleepy turkey does contain trip to fan but people never seem to realize that they also you know, and just two pounds of potatoes and you know, piles of
crap. A lot of times
John Peterson 09:42
I think the turkey gets a bad rap after everybody has a big meal.
Grounded by the Farm 09:47
Well, I would probably agree with you on that. But you know, it’s easier to find somebody else to blame than to look at ourselves that how much we put on our plate. Yeah, well,
John Peterson 09:58
I’m as guilty as anybody. My Thanksgiving Places always heaping. No, when I go take my nap, I know it might have been some of the other items that didn’t.
Grounded by the Farm 10:06
Yes, can you tell me, you mentioned that you guys sell in your market, but you also sell to some wholesalers and others, how does the processing work,
John Peterson 10:17
we don’t process on fire, we work with a USDA processor, also here in Minnesota, in fact, all of our processing, both to the slaughter piece, and then also, you know, for any of our sausage, or smoked products, or anything like that, we use other Minnesota processor. So we’re, we’re sort of fiercely proud to be an independent Minnesota farm. And I want to extend that to all the processors that we work with that are also local independent folks. So all of our birds travel to a slaughter facility for processing. And then they come back to us here, at which point we would either sell them, like you mentioned through our on farm store, or they would be distributed into one of the restaurants or retailers for groceries that would carry our turkey from there.
Grounded by the Farm 10:58
One of the things that processing got a little bit of attention last year is on the tick tock videos and everything where like moms were getting their sons to pull the things that come in the cavity of the turkey out. Yeah, I’m sure you saw some of those videos.
John Peterson 11:17
I hate to admit, I think I missed them actually. Probably like, I’m assuming the the giblet pack out of the cage.
Grounded by the Farm 11:23
Yes, yes. But it doesn’t necessarily look like that to a young guy who’s you know, seeing pulled out and it was really pretty terrifying for for quite a few people last year, but it’s also hysterical for people to know what’s going on. I guess when it comes to eating the birds and stuff besides taking that out? Before you start cooking it right, and decide what you want to do with it. I mean, my mom uses all that stuff for dressing and things like that. But what other things should people think about us? They’re kind of getting ready to fix their Turkey? Yeah.
John Peterson 11:58
Well, the the question that we probably answer most frequently, and we’ll do so again over the next couple months is trying to determine a size, there are so many cuts of meat that are similarly sized. You know, I don’t think consumers are, are always familiar with this process. I mean, a turkey there, there can be such a tremendous range of sizes, our smallest turkeys are typically about 10 pounds or so dressed. And our biggest turkeys will be close to 25 pounds or so now. So it’s a significant difference. That, of course depends completely on how many folks you’re going to have at the table and what you know what you’d like for leftovers and what you what you plan to do with those leftovers. So that is definitely one of the most frequently asked questions for us this time of year is how big of a bird Do I need. And then we typically suggest a pound to a pound and a half per person. And you know, there are always folks that are leftover lovers and I would include myself in that camp. If you err on the high side, you just you just treat yourself to even more leftovers. But if you’re you know, if you’re hosting a small gathering of two or three, you probably don’t need that 25 pound turkey. We work through that with folks every Thanksgiving trying to trying to pair them with the perfect bird for their gathering.
Grounded by the Farm 13:10
Yeah, that is quite an issue. The other one My family has is we love fried turkeys. And you know like the fryer you can only put such a size bird down in it and really get good cover with all the peanut oil. Right? Yeah, that nice crispy, and we do a lot of things with like Cajun seasoning and stuff. Yeah. Steve does an amazing job on on our turkeys that we fry. But we also bake them. So how does your family make Turkey?
John Peterson 13:41
Well, we, we’ve probably tried most of the different options under the sun over the years, thinking of Thanksgiving Day, we oftentimes will grill our turkey, because it creates extra oven space. It’s sort of a you know, throw it on the grill and forget about it for a few hours. And you can you know, you can use your oven for everything else. But you know, you mentioned the frying a turkey. This gets to one of the other questions that were so oftentimes asked to Thanksgiving, you know, how, how do I guarantee a good Turkey? Do I fry it? Do I brine it? Do I base it? Do I cook it in a bag? Do I
Grounded by the Farm 14:15
figure it out?
John Peterson 14:16
There are so many options. And you know, we’ve always tried to be really careful not to be too prescriptive about it because every family has their own tradition. You know, clearly they must be working if they’ve maintained themselves as a tradition. So we always say that if you pick a good Turkey and make sure not to overcook it, have a good meat thermometer, cook it to 165 pull it out, let those natural juices reabsorb before you carve right into it. Regardless of which of those cooking or roasting options or grilling options you choose. You should be able to have a really delicious thanksgiving turkey to gather around.
Grounded by the Farm 14:53
Nice. I like the way you’re playing that diplomat we need more diplomacy in the world these days instead of divisive have language. So that was really good. I assume you sell a lot of your turkeys fresh? Do you also sell frozen? And how do you kind of go about deciding as a consumer whether you want to try and buy a fresh one or a frozen one?
John Peterson 15:15
That’s another great question and another one that we feel this time of year. And you’re exactly right, we offer both fresh and frozen. The only difference between the two is that the frozen birds were harvested a little bit earlier. You know, for us, that gives us a little bit more flexibility, that we’re able to get those turkeys out and do our own store and into the broader marketplace a little bit earlier, which is both a service for folks who are gathering early or you know, sometimes folks who are traveling a long distance would prefer to have a frozen turkey rather than a fresh Turkey. But you know, really all of the other attributes are going to be the same. But we do say that you know, a fresh Turkey, you’re going to be able to have the luxury of getting it just a day or two before Thanksgiving, you’re not going to have to tie up the shelf in your fridge to thought for gastric emptying could take a week, maybe you have a 20 pound turkey it It could could take a week to fully thawed. So there’s certainly a convenience factor with fresh turkeys. And because they were never frozen, they do roast a little bit faster. I oftentimes caution people when they’re picking up a turkey at our at our own farm store that a fresh Turkey will roast just to just to touch quicker, because that core was never as cold. But either are a great product in our frozen turkeys are flash frozen at our processor. So in many ways, they’re you know, they’re just as fresh as the fresh turkeys.
Grounded by the Farm 16:33
Right that flash frozen helps with maintain all the food safety, right food safety is always a question with almost any food. And I noticed you said and buying it in the refrigerator, which is a great point on sort of some of these things. Sometimes if you’ve never done turkeys you think, Oh yeah, just pull it out of the freezer and cook it. It takes a long time to thought that Turkey.
John Peterson 16:57
Yes. It’s not like pulling out a hamburger patty and having a thought and time for dinner. Especially when you’re in those you know, 20 plus pound turkeys, we generally say that it takes 24 hours to thaw every three or four pounds of Turkey, when those bigger birds can be pushing a week in your refrigerator to get fully thawed.
Grounded by the Farm 17:16
Yeah, and just putting them out on the cabinet would probably lead to some food safety concerns for part of the birds getting so warm on the outside. So it’s best to tend to defrost in the refrigerator, right?
John Peterson 17:29
It makes me want to cover my ears to hear you say putting them out on the countertop. Now, not what we’re supposed to do. So I mean, you can for folks and we this this comes up most years, you know the day before Thanksgiving, somebody realizes they haven’t fully thought their Turkey. You can in a you know, in a water bath, you can safely thaw turkey more quickly. There are ways to expedite the process safely. But I would never want to know that somebody put a turkey out on the out on the countertop, that would not be the recommended way to do it.
Grounded by the Farm 18:00
That’s exactly I wanted to make it really clear.
John Peterson 18:04
I was already record.
Grounded by the Farm 18:06
We really appreciate food safety efforts on poultry and things you know, I mean, you just don’t want to get in a bad spot. I’ve never I’ve never had that in my family. So we’re you know, we’ve we’ve got some great cooks obviously, with that leftover turkey. Do you have great ideas for us on what to do with it. So many people don’t plan it out. And suddenly the next day they’re like, Oh my gosh, I’m not gonna eat turkey sandwiches for the next three days.
John Peterson 18:32
Yeah, well, I might let you down here because I’m I’m pretty simple with my turkey leftovers. I do love a turkey sandwich. In fact, I just had lunch shortly before we’re visiting here today jazz and God’s honest truth I had a turkey sandwich. So I I never tire of a good turkey sandwich and especially you know that kind of day after just the simple simple turkey sandwich you know, get some really good bread and you know a good, good cheese to pair with it. I think you can make a an awfully good turkey leftover for the next couple of days with sandwich.
Grounded by the Farm 19:08
I love it. I love it. Do other people in your family have other preferences, though?
John Peterson 19:13
I don’t. I don’t actually know that we have strong traditions. Okay.
Grounded by the Farm 19:18
busy cleaning out the store and getting everybody going, huh?
John Peterson 19:22
We’re probably still in our Thanksgiving map, right? Yeah, no, you are you are certainly hitting on the truth that those days after Thanksgiving are really our family’s chance to catch our breath after such a big push to get to Thanksgiving Day. So we’re Of course still eating our Thanksgiving leftovers but probably lacking the ambition to do that is the thing much more creative with them.
Grounded by the Farm 19:45
We haven’t talked too much about the market. Tell me a little bit about the Ferndale market and what you guys do there for your customers.
John Peterson 19:52
Yeah, for sure. I should probably start by telling you where the Ferndale name comes from. perfo Yeah. So I mentioned That our farm was started by my grandfather and his name was Dale, Dale Peterson. And he, he wanted to find a farm that was well suited for, for growing turkeys outdoors, which, ironically, just as a sidebar here ironically, that would have been the way all turkeys would have been grown when he got started. You know, the way, the way we’re growing turkeys today is really nothing novel or new. I always think we’re sort of the dinosaurs that have, you know, held on to these practices after most others have got away from them. But you know, this is the way that my grandfather would have started growing our turkeys. So his name was Dale. And shortly after he got the farm started, he met my grandmother to be and her name was Fern. So Fern and Dale are my grandparents. I love when, when that recognition happens that this is where our name comes from. And you know, now for me three generations later, there’s just a ton of pride in having their name literally on our storefront and on the label of every turkey product that that leaves our place. That’s really rewarding. What. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, yep. That’s a quick backstory on where the name comes from. But the store itself, interestingly enough, actually sits in our former hatchery building we talked about when we used to hatch our own polls, then we remodeled our hatchery building, so it is right on our farm. And during the summer months, if visitors come, you can oftentimes see turkeys out on range right behind our our market, it is truly an on fire market. And our vision really was to was to be able to bring customers to the farm to the source of where their food was being grown. And you know, so oftentimes the model in agriculture today is that food is grown out in rural areas and then trucked into the into the cities. And oftentimes the consumer doesn’t know where their food comes from. And likewise, many farmers don’t know where the food that they’ve put so much care and energy into raising goals. So we really wanted to turn that on its head and give people the chance to come right to the farm to source their, in our case turkey products. And yet we saw when we were planning to open that there were a lot of other local farmers and food makers in our area of southern Minnesota. They were doing a lot of really unique things in terms of, you know, sustainable farming practices and making some really creative traditional foods and things. So we decided to broaden the scope and pull together a whole host of local foods in our store, Ferndale market, and have today, foods for about 100 different farmers and food makers. Wow. Yeah, so everything from you know, delicious cheeses, to of course, other meats. I mean meats and meats and dairy are probably our specialties. But you know, great seasonal produce. And you know, Thanksgiving, we bring in a lot of other kind of holiday and seasonal specialties to round out Thanksgiving Christmas tables as well, the whole idea that we really want to sustain what’s happening right here in our in our local region and make it available for shoppers that value those kinds of foods.
Grounded by the Farm 22:55
That’s amazing. I think for a lot of people going out and visiting a farmers market. Or in your case, a Farm Market is a way to sort of connect with the local community. And it sounds like you’re making sure that not only your farm is able to show up but a lot of other farms and and perhaps you have like jams and jellies from locals? Is that the kinds of things yeah, so yep, those are the kinds of places I love to go and end up just go in here take all my money because I get so many ideas. And I don’t know how many honeys I have from how many different parts of the US but I end up having all those and have different reasons for liking different ones too. So I’m bet everybody can get that whole flavor profile there when they come out to see you guys at Ferndale.
John Peterson 23:43
Absolutely, yeah. And one of the things that we’re really working through sort of as we speak this year, that we typically of course are awfully busy. And that week before Thanksgiving with with customers come in to pick up their fresh thanksgiving turkey and many of those folks have ordered them weeks or maybe a month in advance letting us know what size turkey they need. And when they plan to come get it. And it’s one of our great traditions. I mean, certainly one of my favorite weeks of the whole year is getting, you know, to reunite with so many these folks that have our turkey at the center of their traditional meal. And yet this year, we’re kind of having to reinvent how that works of social distancing. We’re kind of reimagining it as a curbside pickup for all of these Thanksgiving turkeys to get into the into the right car and ultimately enter the right table. So that has been one of the pandemic related challenges and opportunities for us is to figure out how we can maintain that tradition in the way that feels most safe this year.
Grounded by the Farm 24:42
Yeah, that’s it’s interesting. Luckily, you’re at least able to learn from some restaurants and other retailers that have been trying to do a good bit of that this summer. And I’m sure you guys started some of it this summer. Your busy season is really going to be the crunch time so hopefully you have some Extra family members who are going to be able to lend a hand?
John Peterson 25:03
Yeah, we’re going to be looking through the local phonebook for for extra hands, I think. Yeah, well, it’ll be an all hands on deck kind of event. And you’re right, we did. We did start planning early. And I’ve learned a lot from you know, plenty of our the restaurants that carry our turkey, I’ve kind of, you know, walked us through, you know, how they’ve been able to persist through this. And it’s such an important time of year for us that we knew we had to figure out how to adapt to the times and make this happen, both for our sake, and for the sake of all of our customers and the value of the tradition. Exactly, exactly.
Grounded by the Farm 25:35
Can you tell me you said people can come up and they’ll see the birds around the store and your flock is raised outside? Can you tell me do birds typically have a standard height? You know, when they come in all together? At the same time? Do turkeys tend to really vary their diets? You mentioned hens differ from the Tom’s, how much variability do you get there? If you’ve got people looking for a 10 pound bird and a 20 pound bird, I get the thin and the time difference? But how are all those other variables put in there?
John Peterson 26:06
Yeah, that’s a great question. I think it’s one of those pulling back the curtain kinds of things that a lot of customers don’t think about how you know, how did all of these different sizes just appear here in the in the grocery store, but it actually takes multiple flocks, where we’re starting polls on separate days, you know, starting weeks apart, to be able to achieve all of those, all of those different sizes. So you know, we’ll sort of have, you know, an earlier flock and then a flock that starts a couple weeks later, and then a couple weeks after that, and then the mix of hens and Tom’s to be able to cover all of those sizes. because ideally, a flock when they’re, you know, when they’re at a market weight, or pretty consistently sized. You know, of course, there’s always natural variability, like you’d expect with, you know, with anything, they’re gonna hug fairly close to an average size. And so it does, it does take staggered flocks to be able to hit all of those, all of those different sizes that we need.
Grounded by the Farm 27:02
And I assume you’re feeding them a lot of locally grown grain and things along that line, but they also get to eat whatever they find outside.
John Peterson 27:10
Right. Exactly. Yep. Yeah, so our staple diet is similar to you know, what most other turkeys would be would be fat, it’s a mix of corn and soybean meal, when they’re out on on pasture. Like I mentioned earlier, turkeys are curious. And so so there’s all kinds of things that they can get their beak on. Certainly, though, you know, ticket grasses, and insects and all those things, when they’re outdoors, they can get a self select what else they’d like to find,
Grounded by the Farm 27:35
you know, we’ve heard a lot about different things and poultry, with chickens doing, you know, kind of caged individual cages and things like that. Because sometimes chickens can be really aggressive. Do you have similar issues occasionally in turkeys? You know, they,
John Peterson 27:51
they certainly do have some sort of a hierarchy or a pecking order, as you know, we don’t know it in the world of poultry. I oftentimes wish I was smart enough to understand, you know, who’s, who’s the top jerky? And, you know, how was that established? I mean, it would, it would be fairly rare that they would be, you know, really aggressively, you know, overtly aggressive to one another, but it does happen, you know, most of the time, I think they, you know, they sort of work it out amongst themselves. And we don’t know who, who the top Berkey is, somehow they know.
Grounded by the Farm 28:26
But they they usually play nice when they’re outside or or. Yeah, great. JOHN, could you tell me who else in the family is involved? Because I think when I send an email, I actually got your sister first.
John Peterson 28:40
You are You are correct. Yes, we are very much a family business. Both my sister and myself are, are in the third generation. My sister does all of our marketing and communications work. And then also parents, the second generation that can Jane are still actively involved and live right on the farm with my wife, and myself and our son. We all have separate homes, right on the farms, we have a lot of a lot of opportunity to both, you know, work and be together as a family. And that’s really still what what guides all the decisions that we make. We want to we want to carry forward the you know, the tradition and the legacy that my family had here and take care of the land the that we’ve been on and the turkeys that have been a part of our farm for 81 years now.
Grounded by the Farm 29:22
Wow. That’s amazing. 81 years as a family farm. That’s a lot of Turkey.
John Peterson 29:28
It is a lot of Turkey. Absolutely.
Grounded by the Farm 29:30
Thank you so much for joining us. I can’t wait to get this and the other parts of the holiday series live because I think for me, I certainly will be looking at my Thanksgiving meal a little bit differently. haven’t learned this much about turkeys.
John Peterson 29:44
Wonderful. I can’t wait to hear and really appreciate the chance to be a part of Thank you so much.
Grounded by the Farm 29:51
All right. So there we are the conversation with john and his family, Katherine there. His sister works on the farm as well. If you’re in Minneapolis St. Paul area sometime or down near Rochester or something, it’s not that far away. town’s name is Cannon Falls, we’re gonna put some photographs and some videos things like that up on Grounded by the farm.com. They’ll also be in your show notes. So give it a check. And hope you guys will stick with us for the rest of the holiday series. We have several more coming up. Now that we’re past Halloween, we’ve moved on into Thanksgiving and eventually into Christmas. And next step will be cranberries. And I can’t wait to show you what all was going on there. We’ll talk about it and we’ll have some great stuff in the show notes on that one too. Thanks so much. We’ll talk to you guys later. Bye.
Leave a Reply