That’s exactly what Farmer Jill said when I asked her via email “why pasture-raised turkeys!?”
So when she invited me to her farm to see for myself, I jumped at it. I wanted to actually understand how these turkeys were raised– and to see if I would in fact, love them too.
When I arrived at K&M Farms in Abbotsford, British Columbia I parked my car and was greeted by Kathy - not who I was expecting, but this is a family affair after all. Kathy and her husband Mark have been farming for 30-odd years and doing so at K&M Farms (a.k.a. Kathy & Mark Farms) for almost two decades - and they’re Jill’s parents. As soon as Jill finished up her morning workout, we walked right past the barn and out to a 2-acre field.
Then Jill whistled.
This triggered a hilarious, and what I would soon learn to be a typical turkey response. 700 white turkeys popped their heads up and started walking down the grassy hillside! Jill explained to me that turkeys are extremely curious and social animals. We’d peaked their curiosity and soon the entire rafter of turkeys had encircled us, cooing, clucking and gobbling away. Jill said they just wanted to know the latest gossip!
The longer we stood there, the more we became old news and the turkeys started to go about their business. So I too got down to business with Farmer Jill, and here’s what I found out about pasture-raised turkeys:
Q: "What’s the difference between a turkey that’s raised here on K&M Farms and one that’s been raised the commercial way?"
A: "Our turkeys live outside…After two weeks we move them out… and they have shelters they like to roost under but they enjoy it out here. Living outdoors gives them the freedom for natural expression, to be active and social and the freedom to be curious. The saddest thing would be to raise them in close spaces."
Q: "Word on the street is pasture-raised turkey tastes different than turkey you would buy in the store…is that true??"
A: "Yes! I truly believe the taste has everything to do with the turkey’s being able to move around, develop, and spread their wings. The birds we raise here are big, healthy birds and you can definitely taste the difference."
Q: "Why turkeys, Jill? What gets you up in the morning to do this, and stay motivated to raise these birds?"
A: “I love raising turkeys because I think we have similar personalities – always out for a good time, love to explore, very curious” ... “But I also like that the customer enjoys the experience of knowing me, the farmer, and the farm here, and eating the food produced here. I like how I feel when other people are enjoying what I worked so hard to produce for them. It’s pretty damn wholesome for me!”
A day spent on K&M Farms is truly an eye-opener. The passion and pride Jill and her family have for small-scale farming and raising their birds ethically and responsibly is something we at Meatme strive to share with others. We know there's nothing better than sitting around the dinner table feeling good about what you're feeding your family, and you'll get that with K&M Farms.
Digital Marketer at Meatme.ca
(And newfound turkey lover)