November 27, 2013

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

Close encounter: Ben Greaney, 14, makes friends with a turkey in the back of the U-Haul truck used to transport 125 birds at a time to the slaughterhouse at Greaney’s Turkey Farm in Mercer on Friday. Nearly 800 turkeys were raised, sold, processed and pick up by customers to be served as Thanksgiving dinner.

Slideshow: A turkey journey at Greaney’s

Chris Frye of Waterville didn’t necessarily go out of his way to find the perfect turkey for his family’s Thanksgiving feast this year.

It was a subtle hint staring up at him from a strategically placed advertisement located on his placemat during a recent meal at the Purple Cow restaurant in Fairfield.

“If it wasn’t for the advertisement on the placemat at the Purple Cow, I would probably still be eating the turkey from the grocery store,” he said Tuesday after picking up two locally grown turkeys from Greaney’s Turkey Farm in Mercer. The turkeys were cage-free and fed with grain. “I know the owner from way back and thought it would be a good idea for this year’s Thanksgiving.”

The owners, Tracy and Scott Greaney, have been producing the traditional Thanksgiving dish since 1983 with a crew of relatives from aunts, uncles, cousins and other extended family to harvest the nearly 800 birds in a matter of days. Scott Greaney said that although the process begins in August when the baby turkeys arrive, the bulk of work happens in a flurry of turkey herding and processing the week before Thanksgiving. The extended family helps out during this time too, including Ben Greaney, 14, and Adam Greaney, 10.

The season slows down on Friday, when they can take a deep breath and begin the preparations for next year, Scott Greaney said.

— Michael G. Seamans

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

TURKEY TIME: Adam Greaney, 10, grabs one of the many turkeys roaming the barn at Greaney’s Turkey Farm in Mercer on Friday.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

eat fresh: Emily Greaney hauls fresh turkeys in wheelbarrow to the ice house to be stored until customers can pick it up at Greaney’s Turkey Farm in Mercer on Friday. Scott Greaney, owner of the turkey farm, said ice is key to ensure a fresh and clean bird.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

bird pickup: Chris Flye of Waterville leaves Greaney’s Turkey Farm with two fresh turkeys for Thanksgiving dinner on Tuesday. Frye has never tried a free-range, grain fed turkey before.

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