Rare Turkey Raised In Orange Cove - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Rare Turkey Raised In Orange Cove

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ORANGE COVE, Calif. (KMPH) -

It's the most sought after turkey for Thanksgiving.   The Heritage dates back to the Pilgrims and it's produced locally in Orange Cove.   It's a bird that roams the range near the foothills in eastern Fresno County.  

Ben Pitman is a third generation turkey rancher.  The Pitman family has been in the poultry business since 1954.  Pitman Farms started raising the colorful turkey just after the turn of the century.

The Heritage can be pricey, it goes for up to eight dollars a pound but this main course carries a lot of history.  "They're getting a bird that was originally raised back when the first pilgrims came here.   It's the true turkey that was here and it's the breed our Pilgrims had at the table."

From the neck up the Heritage has brilliant colors of red, white and blue.  Most turkeys need only four months to become full grown.  A Heritage takes two months longer because it likes to roam on the green grass and fly.  That burns calories.  The birds are known for having big thighs and a small breast.  It's anti–biotic free and there are no added hormones.

Heritage turkeys like to hangout in a group all day long.   But when nightfall arrives they head for higher ground.  "They will perch on the roofs and the trees out here living more of their natural state by doing that."

They stay above ground at night to keep out of reach of predators.   The pitman's produce 5–thousand turkeys a year.    Locally Heritage turkeys are sold at Christina's Market and Whole Foods.

 

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