Mike Cole of Glastenbury Farm hasn’t always raised turkeys. They are a fairly new addition to his family’s Canajoharie dairy farm.
“We’ve been raising turkeys for 3 years,” Cole said. “It just seemed like there was a market there for them and now people want to buy local so they know who they are getting their food from.”
Cole buys the turkeys locally as hatchlings and raises them up to market as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches.
“We do very little advertising,” Cole reports. “People find us through word of mouth.”
Cole says this is a “very seasonal” market and the turkeys nearly always are sold out before Thanksgiving arrives. Cole raises up to 50 birds each year.
“It’s not extremely profitable, but it is worth doing. People seem to want it and the market is there.”
Cole describes the venture as “just another facet of the farm, another avenue to make income.”
The turkeys, which are free range and also fed a high protein grain are sold after they are processed by a state certified processor, usually weighing between 15 and 20 pounds dressed. Cole says although a few people still want 25 pound turkeys, most folks generally want them a little bit smaller.
The registered Jersey farm also raises chickens and pigs for meat.
Some of their meat products are marketed through a farmers market in Northville, NY.
Cole and his family, wife Linda, a high school teacher; son Andy, and daughters Katie and Madeline, run a herd of about 130 registered Jerseys. Their herd average is around 15,900 per year, with fat at 733, 4.6 percent and protein at 571, 3.6 percent.
“It helps to spread out your risk,” Cole says.