Holiday menus are starting to take shape across America, and for Thanksgiving that means one thing: Turkey. The poultry industry, including turkey farms and processors, are still recovering from what’s being considered now the nation’s worst avian influenza outbreak ever. Joyce Farms in Charlotte as a family operation. President Ryan Joyce:
The entire turkey industry has kind of turned upside down because the supply was just all-of-a-sudden gone. Flocks around the country were being eradicated, and corn really drove the price of it up. Corn was through the roof, so our feed costs were extremely high last year, and on the heritage breed animals they consume a lot more feed per pound of meat that you get.
But with the worst of the HPAI outbreak now in the rearview mirror, the industry is bouncing back, and Joyce Farms does it with a twist. Vice President Stuart Joyce tells Spectrum News they grow and process Heritage black turkeys
We import from France. We’re the only ones United States that use this breed.
Ryan says as with most ag entities, Joyce Farms started out small.
My grandparents started back in 1962 as a small mom and pop distributor. We distributed to local grocery stores. Everything was done by hand.
And that philosophy continues to this day.
The birds are processed by hand and individually checked and packed so we can preserve the awesome flavor and the quality of the Heritage black turkey.
Ryan explains the heritage breed means it requires more inputs, but it delivers to the consumer.
It’s a heritage breed so it’s a hardier breed, and the flavor is the prime reason we go through raising these animals. It cooks up amazingly well. It is a little bit more gamey. It’s not gamey but the flavor is really there.
And it’s that flavor, Stuart says, that sets the Heritage black turkey from Joyce Farms apart.
I hope they enjoy the quality and they see that it’s different. It’s really going back to the way turkeys used to taste before they’ve been commercialized. We’re a small company but we fill a niche market.