Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Toms and hens

At the Times, Kim Severson has a delightful story about heritage turkeys:
Mr. Reese moved into a farmhouse on his turkey ranch 20 years ago, after a tour in the Army in the 1970s and a career as a nurse anesthetist, a job he still does part time to help pay for his turkeys.

The century-old house is a showplace for things turkey, including hundreds of old turkey publications, turkey platters and rare framed drawings of turkeys. Somewhere among the papers, he thinks, there might still be a little essay he wrote when he was 5, titled “Me and My Turkey.”

“I don’t know why, but my love of turkeys has always been there,” he said during a late summer walk through a flock of thousands.

Mr. Reese is trying to save both the vintage breeds and a culture of turkey-rearing once so popular that breeders numbered over a thousand and enthusiasts filled the old Madison Square Garden to watch turkeys the way people today flock to the Westminster dog show. The five breeds he raises descend directly from the birds raised by Mr. Kardosh and by other heavyweight breeders, many of them women.

His Bourbon Reds come from flocks raised by Sadie Caldwell in Kansas and Gladys Hanssinger from Missouri. Other turkeys come from a line bred by Martha Walker, who in the 1930s advertised her “short-legged, thick-meated” Walker Bronzes in Turkey World magazine.

No comments:

Post a Comment