The chilly fall air reminds the Rebstock family that Thanksgiving is growing ever closer as they turn their Heritage Turkeys out into the pasture for an afternoon stroll.
The family, owners of Rhineland Farm in southwestern Somervell County, invested in the turkeys early this summer. As one-day-old chicks, nearly three dozen of them were shipped overnight to a local post office, then transported to the farm.
“We thought we would go small this year and just do 30 or 40 (turkeys) and almost all of them are already spoken for (for Thanksgiving),” Samantha Rebstock said.
While her statement may sound shocking, Samantha and her 19-year-old son Jeremy raise turkeys that are actually some of the best money can buy. Heritage Turkeys are the oldest breed of turkeys, but it’s not just their pedigree that separates Rhineland Farm’s rafter (group of turkeys) from commercial-brand poultry.
Jeremy, who is responsible for the turkeys and has experience working on a turkey farm, will raise them to a healthy 12 to 18 pound average weight in less than six months. He will not use any growth hormones and will allow them to roam a green pasture every day.
“Unfortunately most of the (commercial) animal farms are in poor condition. Some (animals) don’t even go outside,” Samantha said. “These are not medicated birds, which is what is really neat about getting farm-raised or local products. We (humans) could eat what we feed them. It may not taste good, but it wouldn’t hurt us.”
The toms and hens, along with other animals and products from Rhineland Farm, are listed on LocalHarvest.org, a Web site that promotes organic products grown and raised on family farms. The farm is also a member of Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (TOFGA), an organization that spans 600 members across the state and promotes “organic agriculture as a sustainable systems approach in the production of food and fiber - a system that protects human and animal health, and preserves the environment.”
It is through these two organizations that Rhineland and other farms are able to sell and market their products.
“We all work together,” Samantha said.
Jeremy and Samantha will pass along their healthy harvest in a few weeks to local families, mainly in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, as part of the Thanksgiving feast.
While the majority of this year’s rafter is spoken for, Samantha said Rhineland Farm will have more turkeys next year, again sharing a healthier and organic choice for fellow families.
For more information on Rhineland Farm, call Samantha at 254-897-4517 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.