Russell County

Local turkey farmer says it's a good year

RUSSELL COUNTY, Va. - We told you about the shortage of large Butterball turkeys this year but now we've learned that might be a good thing for local farmers.

We spoke with a turkey farmer in Russell County,Va. who told us customers are asking him for two or three small turkeys instead of just one.

Forty Bourbon Red turkeys roam the Moyer Family Farm, getting ready for their big day on Thursday.

Richard Moyer told us his Thanksgiving turkeys are his biggest all year.

"It's tough for the turkeys to keep gaining weight," he said. "Sometimes they'll even lose weight if it's too cold."

He sells more at Thanksgiving then he does at Christmas for that reason.

The birds are small to begin with, only 6 to 15 pounds. They're smaller than what's in a grocery store. Moyer told News 5 that's good for their business.

"We have some people who come by and they really just want a turkey for two so we have some small ones five to six pounds," he said.

Moyer told us he expects to sell all 40 birds, to customers like David Alexander who aren't cooking for many people.

"Just two so I was going to get a small turkey," Alexander told us.

The main reason Alexander is thinking of buying a Moyer turkey is because he "wanted a turkey that was fresh, kind of local, and one that was kind of healthy," he said.

Alexander told us he wants one that's not filled with hormones. Moyer's turkeys fit the bill. They're free range and they are even fed with locally grown corn.

They also come directly from the farm.

"In Virginia we can process the poultry ourselves," Moyer told us.

He gets together with his neighbors to do it, he said. He told us as long as you're not processing thousands of turkeys, the poultry doesn't have to be USDA certified.  

They'll start getting the turkeys ready on Monday.

Moyer told us this time of year is also good for the farmer's market, especially for people who want a locally grown Thanksgiving dinner.

One family bought 10 pounds of potatoes and four pounds of turnips from Moyer this week.

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