THE turkey pictured above looks nervous and can you blame it as it will shortly go to its eternal reward – your dinner table!
Knockaderry man, Donie O’Connor and his business partner, John Fitzgerald, rear 100 free-range turkeys in West Limerick and over 3,000 in Carlow.
Donie says his turkeys will be facing the chop from this Friday but they have certainly had a happy life.
“They’re let out in the morning to graze and pick at what they want on three and a half acres of land all fenced in.
“At night time they go back in to the shed – they come and go as they please,” said Donie, who has been rearing turkeys for the Christmas market since Castlemahon closed in 2006.
From the middle of next week Donie’s turkeys will be appearing in butchers all over Limerick city and county.
“We also sell to Clare, Galway, Kerry, Cork, you name it. You can’t beat Limerick turkeys!” said Donie, who is a sales rep for Cappoquin Poultry.
One of the butchers he supplies to is Jim Flavin.
“I’ve been getting turkeys from Donie for a few years. A lot of people unfortunately have gone out of business with the competition so we always try to source our products and support our own and Donie is a fellow Limerickman,” said Jim.
The difference between an ordinary turkey and a free-range one from the likes of Donie is simply the taste, says Jim.
“It is far, far superior. We’ll have Donie’s fresh turkeys for sale from the middle of next week, around December 19/20,” said Jim.
But with the less intensive way of rearing free-range turkeys, so that they have a happy and relaxed life, comes an extra cost.
And unfortunately in these economic times price is a big worry for many. says Jim.
“Some people can’t afford it nowadays so we cater for them with less expensive turkeys as well but we encourage everyone who can to keep the home flames burning. There is great value on fresh Irish products every day,” said Jim.
But while Donie’s turkeys have enjoyed their time in Knockaderry it certainly won’t be a merry Christmas for them!