Turkey: the star of the Thanksgiving show!

8:21 AM, Nov 23, 2012   |    comments
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NEW SHARON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- All week we've been showing you where some of the stars of Thanksgiving dinner come from. But let's be serious - the turkey is the main attraction!

When you ask Bob Neal how a newspaper reporter turns into a turkey farmer, the answer is complicated.

"Lord if I knew and I could go back 27 years and change course, I might," Neal explains.

But after only a few moments on The Turkey Farm in New Sharon, it's quick to see why he's kept at it for so long.

"I kind of like these guys," Neal said. "I don't want to get into the psychology of that, because I don't understand it, and I probably don't want to."

These turkeys are living the good life.  "When a hen hatches a clutch in the wild, a wild turkey, she'll hatch about a dozen.  One of them will live old enough to reproduce. Their average age is less than two months.  These guys were hatched on May the 5th."

On average, they're living twice as long as they'd be able to in the wild, are protected from coyotes, and aren't force fed; they eat and drink water by free choice.  Like humans, there's a pecking order that's very noticeable to Neal.  They're very much of a herd animal, too.

"The ones you see that are all red, those are the males, and they're prancing," Neal said. "They're displaying for the benefit of the females.  They, like human males, try to give the impression that they're in charge, but we all know better."

And we all know the inevitable.

"I'm wondering if they're understanding the questions you're asking."

Neal is sold out of turkeys, and is preparing to send out 1,000 birds this Thanksgiving, slaughtering 275 birds each day leading up to the holiday. 

Business has been unexplainably good.  When Neal raises the price, the demand increases, the total opposite of what we learn in Econ 101.  But he's certainly not complaining.

Turkey Sausage Quesadilla - Serves 4 to 6


1 lb. spicy Turkey sausage or chorizo (loose pack)

12 corn tortillas

1 head loose leaf lettuce, shredded

1/2 can refried beans

1/4-1/2 lb. Monterey Jack cheese, grated

2 Tbsp olive oil


In a skillet over medium-high heat, saute the sausage or chorizo until cooked, about 5-7 minutes.  Reserve the sausage.  Heat the refried beans in a sauce pan. 

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat.  Cook the tortillas, one at a time, in the hot oil until stiff.

Onto each tortilla, spread beans, then sausage or chorizo, then the lettuce and cheese.  Top with slices of avocado if you desire.

(Variation: Make a guacamole with the avocado and spread it atop the sausage.)


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