Gobblers for gobbling

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WALPOLE, N.H. — Local turkey farmer Bruce Bickford, owner of Abenaki Springs Farm in Walpole, N.H., has a passion for Thanksgiving that starts each year in June to ensure an organically-raised dinner experience that is to delight.

Bickford's journey to Thanksgiving starts every year when he picks up his hatchlings.

His passion and relationship with his birds are evident in the way they follow him throughout the pasture.

"I pick them up as day-old poults, the day that they're hatched down in Massachusetts, and we start them on 100 percent organic grain all the way through," said Bickford.

Raising small batches of 125 turkeys per year allows the farm to give the birds the pasture space they need. They spend most of their lives outside.

"These birds are in the pasture for most of their lives, so they're always eating outside. They're actually being more like turkeys as much as possible in the environment," said Bickford.

Bickford said the farming method is evident in the meat purchased. In addition to a richer flavor and faster cooking time — up to two hours shorter than store-bought turkeys — he asserts that the bones have the greatest value for nutrients and minerals.

"Because they have been outside for so long, especially turkeys who live longer than most chickens do," Bickford said they are great for making soups and broths.

"That's what drives us, what we do," Bickford says "The most important thing to us is the health and happiness of these birds."

With 10 years of experience, Bickford says he had a waiting list in the past for the turkeys.

This year turkeys are still available to purchase, at $5.50 per pound

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