Here is a list of our current items for sale:
- Farm Fresh Eggs by the Dozen
- Taking Turkey Orders for Thanksgiving 2019. We will have both Narragansetts and Broad-Breasted Bronze ready for Thanksgiving Please contact us early (now is fine) to reserve a Turkey. We have already ordered poults for this year, and we need to make arrangements for processing.
- Assorted dual-purpose pullets. These will be ready for sale (off heat lamps, ready to go) in May 2019. Please contact us to reserve your order.
What kind of Turkeys do you offer? We offer Broad Breasted Bronze and Narragansett Turkeys
Broad-Breasted Bronze Turkey:
These are similar in size and characteristic to turkeys you may find in your local supermarket, with a copious amount of white breast meat and large dark-meat drumsticks, but a vastly superior texture and flavor when raised free-range. The Broad Breasted Bronze was developed in the late 19th/early 20th century from the standard Bronze turkey developed in the 18th century from wild turkeys and imported Turkeys from England. The Broad Breasted Bronze went on to dominate the commercial turkey industry for twenty years after its development, until the Broad Breasted White became the breed of choice. The Broad Breasted Bronze has virtually disappeared from large-scale commercial turkey farming and currently has a “Watch” status (global population less than 10,000) by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.
The Narragansett turkey is much different than a typical supermarket turkey. It is slightly smaller, with a greater proportion of dark meat and a much richer and more complex flavor. The Narragansett turkey is a “heritage” breed of turkey. A heritage turkey is one of a variety of strains of domestic turkey which retains historic characteristics that are no longer present in the majority of turkeys raised for consumption. Heritage turkeys have a relatively long lifespan and a much slower growth rate than turkeys bred for industrial agriculture, and unlike industrially-bred turkeys, can reproduce naturally, forage for food, and fly easily. The Narragansett turkey is named for Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island, where the variety was developed. It descends from the wild turkey and the domestic turkeys (probably Norfolk Blacks) brought to America by English and European colonists beginning in the 1600’s. Improved and standardized for production qualities, the Narragansett became the foundation of the turkey industry in New England. By the early 1900’s interest in the Narragansett began to decline with the introduction of the bronze turkey. By 1997, the Narragansett Turkey was almost extinct with only a dozen individuals left. However in the early 2000s, their numbers rebounded when a renewed interest in the biological fitness, survivability, and superior flavor captured consumer interest and created a growing market niche.
How are your turkeys different from supermarket turkeys?
Virtually all of the 280 million turkeys raised in the United States each year are the product of a few genetic strains of the Broad Breasted White turkey variety. The Broad Breast White turkey has been bred to grow to maximize size in the minimum time period with the most efficient feed conversion rate. Also the white feathers (a non-natural trait) was bred in so that any small feathers inadvertently left after processing are harder for consumers to see. All this tampering has been done at the expense of flavor. Also, these birds are generally raised in huge sheds (upwards of 10,000 birds each). They are generally kept in the dark (to keep them more docile), and usually have their toes and beaks clipped since they are stressed and will injure each other. In order to keep turkeys alive in these conditions, antibiotics are routinely administered and to speed growth some producers use a growth accelerator called ractopamine (banned in the EU). A 2015 survey of the top 20 turkey producers in the U.S indicates only two do not routinely use antibiotics for commercial turkey production. 9 companies stated they do not use ractopamine, the other 11 declined to answer.
Our turkeys are either purchased as day old poults or hatched by our breeding stock and then hand raised on our farm. They are never caged. Instead they are allowed to free range on our 11-acre farm and forage for much of their diet. They spend their days looking for insects and eating grass and weeds. They will fly, but always seem to come home to roost at night! In addition to pasture, the turkeys are given limited amounts of fully-vegetarian pelleted grain (generally Blue Seal brand Multi-flock Pellets). We are currently working to add fermented grains and farm-produced fodder to their diet to lessen our need for commercial feed. They are never given antibiotics or growth enhancers of any kind.
Do you process your own Turkeys?
No. We bring our turkeys to a nearby processing facility (Granite State Poultry in Milford,NH). Here, they are processed, weighed, plastic wrapped (with giblets) and deep chilled (not frozen). We process our turkeys in small batches throughout the year, with a major batch done before Thanksgiving.
How do I buy a Turkey from you?
We are small, independent farm and due to our operating model, we raise very small numbers of turkeys. If you are interested in purchasing a turkey please contact us via our website (www.swampyacresfarm.com). We will let you know our current inventory and give you an estimated date when a turkey will be available. We will request a small, refundable deposit. All of our turkeys are sold fresh (never frozen). We have limited space to store turkeys so you will need to be available to pick up shortly after processing.
Any special cooking instructions?
Since our turkeys are ultra-fresh, you will need to let the meat age for 72 hours prior to cooking or freezing in order to ensure maximum tenderness. This is not typically a consideration with supermarket turkeys that are generally weeks (or even months) post-processing. Once properly aged, you can brine (or not) and cook normally.