Ferndale Market

Type: Farm

Produces: Turkey

Location: Cannon Falls, MN

Miles from Coop: 208

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Traditional Methods: 75 Years of Raising Free-Range Turkeys

Fern and Dale started their farm in 1939, selecting the land for its perfect turkey raising qualities: sandy soil, in a river valley abutting Little Cannon River, which provides excellent drainage for healthy outdoor animal-raising conditions: “I gain more appreciation for it every year,” John gives a nod to his grandparents.

“My grandfather was a bit of a visionary for his time, a pioneer in wanting to grow turkeys for a living. Before that, everyone would just grow a few backyard turkeys for themselves.”

While the farm was initially on-trend by specializing (amid the great transition in agriculture from self-sufficiency family farming to specialization and commodity farming), they bucked the trend when animal-raising turned to confinements: “We were the holdouts after everyone else had quit raising them outside.”

Free-range, naturally:

“This is the only way my grandfather would have known how to raise turkeys – and everyone used to,” John notes.

The old fashioned methods have come back into vogue in the post-Omnivore’s Dilemma era, when people once again want to know where their food comes from. While Ferndale’s free-range turkeys are “perceived as being niche or specialty market,” John points out, “it makes me chuckle because, really, we’ve changed very little.”

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Two Words: Rotational Grazing

It’s music to a conscientious omnivore’s ears:

“We keep [the turkeys] rotating onto fresh pasture. It’s a true free-range program, outdoors from early spring.”

Managing their two fifteen- and twenty-acre turkey ranges is labor intensive, but “We take pride in managing the land well, and we never have to use pesticides or herbicides. When you do it right, it’s a closed-loop, with the turkeys fertilizing the grass,” – not to mention eating the bugs (all of which makes the turkey taste good).

Also unlike conventional turkeys, Ferndale has a no antibiotics nor growth promotants policy: “There’s the most pride for us in not using treatment antibiotics, as it’s a testament that we’re doing it right.”

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      Roasted Ferndale Turkeys (featured above)  are included in New Pi's Holiday Meal package.

 

The Turkey Tip to Rule them All (from the turkey farmer):

You’ll have a tasty turkey with any cooking method if you buy a good turkey and don’t overcook it.

THE RULE: It’s done when it hits 165°F (taken with a meat thermometer).

Let it rest 15 minutes for the juices to stabilize, and you should have a good bird.


Ferndale Market Products

Checkout these great products from Ferndale Market

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Ground Turkey

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Gluten Free Spinach and Feta Turkey Sausage

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Roasted Red Pepper Garlic Turkey Sausage

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Whole Turkey

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Uncured Cranberry Turkey Sticks

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Uncured Turkey PepperJack Sticks


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