Happy life on farm for turkeys being fattened for Christmas

ABOVE: Bethany Mantle with the growing turkeys at Yorklea. Photo: Contributed

Susanna Freymark

There are 80 turkeys living the good life at Gracemere Farmstead until Christmas.

Bethany Mantle said the turkeys come from Sydney and are raised on the farm until ready for slaughter.

At 10 weeks of age the turkeys were shifted into a large electric netting area which is moved every three days to ensure that the growing turkeys always have plenty of fresh grass and insects.

The turkeys still receive organic pellets from a local supplier, though their diet can consist of as much as 50% fresh grass and insects, Bethany said.

“We use organic feed to make sure that the turkeys are receiving the highest quality feed that has not had any nasty chemicals used in the growing and producing of the pellets as well as ensuring our property is free from any herbicides, insecticides or fungicides.”

For four years the family has raised broad-breasted white turkeys and sold the meat at Christmas.

“It is something different for our chicken customers,” Bethany said.

The family bought the farm at Yorklea in 2016.

They started with chickens and ducks. Then came horses, dairy cows and sheep.

They bought four piglets (Ham, Bacon, Salt, Pepper) from a nearby farm.

“We slaughtered our first pig at the end of November (in 2016) and had homegrown ham for Christmas, Bethany said.

Now they have goats and donkeys, but not pigs.

The farm is thriving and is used for education visits and farm stays. You can read the family’s journey on the Gracemere Farmstead website.

While the turkeys fatten up, orders can be placed on the Gracemere Farmstead Facebook page or make an order at Bethany’s stall at the Casino Lions Farmers Market at Crawford Square in Casino on Saturday mornings.

Here are the turkey order options

Whole turkeys will feed about 4-10 people and weigh about 2-4kg. Cost  $35/kg.

Stuffed Rolled Roasts

Cranberry Stuffing- Cranberries, Pistachios, Plum Sauce and gluten-free breadcrumbs.

Macadamia Stuffing- Honey, macadamia, apricots and gluten-free breadcrumbs.

Or Unstuffed

Rolled Roasts will feed about 4-8 people and weigh 1–2kg. Cost $50/kg.

Delivery options

Pickup from Gracemere Farmstead is preferred. The farm is 15 minutes from Casino and 25 minutes from Lismore.

Whole turkeys are available for pick up from December 17, simply call Bethany on 0481 82 7808 to organise a time. Rolled Roasts are available from December 20.

Bethany will be doing a meet-up in Lismore on Thursday,  December 22 at 4pm in the Heritage Park carpark for Lismore customers.

Casino Pickup is at Casino Farmers Market on Saturday, December 24, 8am-11am. There is free delivery to Casino on Wednesday afternoon.

If you are further afield Bethany is willing to organise a meet-up in a different area (ie. Kyogle/Ballina). Minimum orders apply.

Fill in the order form here.

Turkeys at Gracemere Homestead at Yorklea.

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