Wednesday, November 27, 2013

It's Turkey Time!

Photo by Jeff Zehr
Tomorrow approximately 45 million turkeys will be eaten in the United States as families gather to celebrate Thanksgiving.  As the center piece of the feast, I thought it was appropriate to highlight some facts about the bird that will be feeding so many:
  •  Turkeys are native to North America.  The common turkey – Meleagris gallapavo – was hunted by Native Americans as early as 1000 A.D. and was probably first domesticated by native Mexicans. 

  • Tame turkeys were taken to Spain in 1519, spreading throughout Europe and reaching England in 1524, where they became a customary Christmas dish.  English colonists later re-introduced their European-bred turkeys back to North America. 

  • Until 1935, turkeys were primarily bred for their colorful plumage – not their meat.

  • Turkey eggs are twice as large as ordinary chicken eggs.

  • Turkeys hatch after incubating for 28 days.

  • A male turkey is called a tom and a female turkey is called a hen. 

  • Only adult males make the “gobble gobble” sound.  Adult males also have a bumpy head that is normally bright red – it changes to white overlaid with bright blue when they’re excited.  Female heads are less bumpy. 

  • Turkeys have a long red fleshy ornament that drapes over their beak that’s called a snood.  The fleshy pouch-like structure below their beak by their throat is called a wattle.

  •  Turkeys also grow fast!  A male wild turkey on average weighs less than 22 pounds, with females weighing less than 11 pounds.  Male turkeys on the farm can weigh up to 40 pounds and females up to 24 pounds in only 20 weeks’ time!

Sources:



Support Your Farmer:  Koch’s Turkey Farm, a three generation family farm located in Lewiston Valley, raises Certified Humane, antibiotic free turkeys.  The turkeys also have access to free range outdoor areas.   Their turkeys can be found at Whole Foods and other retailers. 

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