US - The National Thanksgiving Turkey and a spare travelled to Washington DC this week to be presented to President Obama at the White House for the annual Presidential Turkey pardoning ceremony.
In partnership with the National Turkey Federation, this year’s Nicholas White turkeys have been raised for the past four months in California’s Central Valley by poultry producer Foster Farms.
Twenty turkey finalists were evaluated to be given to the President, with the two turkeys eventually selected by the Chairman of the National Turkey Federation, Dr Jihad Douglas, and Foster Farms turkey grower and third generation turkey farmer, Joe Hedden.
“We wanted a proud bird, fit to meet the president,” said Mr Hedden.
“We chose this year’s birds based on superior plumage, posture, personality, sociability and manners. Our team worked to socialise the birds as they grew to prepare for the big day at the White House, which included playing music to acclimate to noise and teaching them to sit calmly on a table. This year’s turkeys are country music fans.”
“The annual presentation of the National Thanksgiving Turkey is an important tradition that pays tribute to Thanksgiving and recognises the turkey industry’s role in the national holiday,” said Ira Brill, Foster Farms director of communications and Unofficial Presidential Turkey Historian.
“Foster Farms is honoured to raise the National Thanksgiving Turkey for the second time in five years and highlight the significant role of California agriculture in the national landscape.”
Representing the Nicholas White, a breed originating in California’s Sonoma Valley, this year’s National Thanksgiving Turkey boasts bold, patriotic red and white colouration.
Following the pardoning ceremony, the Presidential Turkey and its alternative will live out their days at Morven Park’s Turkey Hill in Leesburg, Virginia.ThePoultrySite News Desk