Lubbers Family Farm are interested in raising Red Bourbon heritage turkeys on pasture to sell as a traditional food for the Thanksgiving holiday. They plan to raise 30 birds this first year with hopes of expanding the following year.
They have long been interested in heirloom plants and heritage breeds. Their garden is exclusively heirloom, including raising and selling seedlings from Slow Food’s Ark of Taste. They purchase feeder pigs from area small farms with an emphasis on heritage breeds (Red Wattle this year). While they have raised conventional turkeys on pasture in the past, they would like to expand to the heritage breeds.
They are long-term members of both Slow Food and the Livestock Conservancy. They have a copy of the Livestock Conservancy publication entitled How to Raise Heritage Turkeys on Pasture, which they are using to guide their approach.
They chose Bourbon Reds because they are beautiful birds, they are excellent foragers and their light pin feathers make for a clean carcass. The Bourbon Red is on Slow Food’s Ark of Taste and the Watch list of the Livestock Conservancy. They seek to provide a model for raising heritage turkeys that proves economically sustainable and to provide a local source of heritage turkeys. They are well promoted nationally but they were unable to locate a clearly identifiable local source. They were also unable to find a local source of Bourbon Red turkey poults in the number they need. They plan to purchase them from a regional mid-western source, probably Murray McMurray in Iowa. They are also strong supporters of small local farms. This project would enable a second generation involvement.