'Some years customers would bite your arm off for a goose'
The first turkey kill at John Paul Crowe's enterprise in Dundrum, Co Tipperary took place in time for November 26 orders from American ex-pats and local restaurants running special Thanksgiving Day dinners.
About 30 of the organically reared birds met their maker in this relatively minor November cull which was a mere curtain-raiser to the real action next week when a further 2,200 of John Paul's flock will meet their market place destiny.
John Paul has been rearing organic turkeys at the 140 acre family holding for the past six years and sees the enterprise as a 'logical move' considering the Crowes have been producing Christmas hams for years now and preparing them for market at the farm's abattoir.
John Paul - one of the many 'John Pauls' named in honour of the Polish Pontiff's visit to Ireland in 1979 - runs what is primarily a beef enterprise with the turkey and pig 'add-on operations' but leaves the abattoir, farm shop and online businesses to his brothers TJ, Ned and Pat.
A farmer at heart, he completed his Green Cert studies in 2000 as one of the second last intake of agri-students at the former Rockwell Agricultural College.
The 34-year-old retains a great affection for the old Jesuit educational institute.
"It was a great place to be. We had a great time there. The facilities were really first class and modern especially the dairy and beef parts of the college," John Paul recalls.
He started the turkey rearing with just 150 birds on two acres of the family farm in 2009 and has nearly doubled the size of his flock in every subsequent year to the impressive 2,200 birds currently cackling along on 10 acres down in Dundrum.