Lindsborg farmer starts movement of raising 'heritage' turkey breeds

by 5m Editor
22 November 2005, at 12:00am

US - He doesn't care if he doesn't make much money at it, Frank Reese says. His payback is much bigger: He's saving the original Thanksgiving turkey from extinction. But far from the Butterballs and HoneySuckle Whites of the industry today - broad-breasted birds this 57-year-old calls tasteless - is Reese's Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch. It's where, Reese, a fourth generation farmer, is raising flocks of "heritage" turkeys that once were common more than a century ago - breeds like American Bronze, Bourbon Reds and Narragansetts. These old-time turkey breeds once populated farms across the Midwest, ones like his great-grandmother, grandmother and mother had back when farms had a flock of chickens and turkeys, along with a milk cow and a quarter section of crops. Those days have long vanished, and the turkey breeds of that era almost disappeared, too. That is, until Reese stepped in. This year, the Lindsborg-area man raised 9,000 birds for Americans' Thanksgiving meals. "About 10 years ago, I realized these turkeys were disappearing from the face of the earth," Reese said one sunny day before Thanksgiving, recalling a promise he made to a mentor on his deathbed, "I will not let these birds die." Source:

5m Editor