"Most Thanksgiving turkeys are in the form of a fresh or frozen turkey. And those tend to be mostly hens. The hens are more like twelve to eighteen pounds range live. We raise these up to forty-five pounds, so they're almost too big to get in the roasting pan and into your kitchen." - Gary Cooper, Cooper Farms
As we sit down to Thanksgiving dinner next week, nearly every one of those meals will feature a roasted turkey.
In fact, Americans gobble up nearly 700 million pounds of it on Thanksgiving- and that's just a portion of what we eat in an entire year.
WFFT visited a local turkey farm Tuesday, and we have the 'fowl' facts.
We waddled on down to St. Henry, Ohio- down to one of the family farms that produces thousands of the waddled waddlers for Cooper Farms.
We'll show you how they get from the stable to the table.
"They're approximately about twenty-two pounds, and we market them at about forty-five pounds,” says Gary Cooper of Cooper Farms.
This barn holds over 6000 turkeys, and now, I'm one of them.
This farm is one of three hundred that produces the large bird for Cooper Farms.
This is one of four structures housing them from five weeks old, until they're all grown up.
"And then from here they go to our St. Henry processing plant, and then from there, the meat components are sent out to a variety of places, including our own for further processing,” Cooper says.
However, these toms aren't for thanksgiving.
"Most Thanksgiving turkeys are in the form of a fresh or frozen turkey. And those tend to be mostly hens. The hens are more like twelve to eighteen pounds range live. We raise these up to forty-five pounds, so they're almost too big to get in the roasting pan and into your kitchen,” Cooper says.
But their fate is just as delicious.
The three-hundred family farms that contract with Cooper Farms produce over 4.6 million birds a year- that's almost 19,000 a day!
Imagine the sandwiches that would make.
These birds are used for turkey burgers, ground turkey, deli meat, and sausage and bacon, and also end up in national restaurants and stores.
"One that's pretty obvious in the state of Ohio and around the Midwest is Bob Evans. We do all of their turkey exclusively on their menu... We also do all of Kroger's deli chicken and turkey meat that's on their Private Selections brand east of the Mississippi.” Cooper says.
Between the farms and the processing plant over 1600 owe their living to this foody fowl.
And in the end it all makes it onto your plate.
And actually, we’re told that the turkey is actually one of the smartest birds in North America.
So those tales about turkeys drowning in the rain- all a myth.
You can find out more about cooper farms at-
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