×

Francestown farmer has spent more than 30 years raising turkeys

  • Scott Carbee of Francestown has been raising farm-fresh turkeys for Thanksgiving for more than 30 years. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Scott Carbee of Francestown has been raising farm-fresh turkeys for Thanksgiving for more than 30 years. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Scott Carbee of Francestown has been raising farm-fresh turkeys for Thanksgiving for more than 30 years. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • Scott Carbee of Francestown has been raising farm-fresh turkeys for Thanksgiving for more than 30 years. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Scott Carbee of Francestown has been raising farm-fresh turkeys for Thanksgiving for more than 30 years. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Scott S. Carbee —Courtesy photo



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Tuesday, November 21, 2017 10:11AM

Scott Carbee’s Francestown barn is filled with the gobbles of two dozen broad-breasted whites.

“Of all the farm animals, when you’re talking about meat to bone ration, this is the highest you can have,” said Carbee, surveying the pen where he keeps his Thanksgiving prizes, plump and only days from the table.

He’s raised different varieties over the years. He’s tried heritage breeds like bourbon reds, when public interest in heritage birds was at an all time high, but said that they are more expensive to raise and don’t grow as big. This year, he’s going with a Thanksgiving standard. 

The technique for raising turkeys has been perfected over the years, said Carbee. It used to be that in order to have a good sized Thanksgiving bird, farmers would have to start raising them as early as Memorial Day. 

But with advances in feed, said Carbee, that time has been cut down to 21 weeks. The last time he tried raising birds from Memorial Day, he ended up with 40-pound birds. His Thanksgiving dinner required the purchase of an industrial lasagna pan with the handles welded off so that it would fit into the oven.

“We still use that pan every year,” said Carbee. Although now the birds he raises are a more sensible size, he added.

Carbee has hand-raised these birds from three days old, a tradition that he’s kept up for over 30 years — and even before that, when he was a teenaged 4-H participant, raising poultry for one of his projects. 

It was a practical choice, said Carbee: His parents owned a general store, where he worked as a meat cutter, and he also worked as a teenager for a neighbor that raised poultry. 

Now, he said, he likes to take his birds from chicks to fully processed all on his own farm. The birds are flown in by air mail from a farm in Minnesota before they even have their feathers. They’re raised under a heat lamp for the first 21 days, before being moved to their pen in Carbee’s barn.

Free-range is more in vogue, said Carbee, but he prefers to know exactly what is going into the birds he raises.

Another aspect of that, said Carbee, is doing all of his slaughtering and packaging himself. He’s tried in the past to send his birds out for processing, but wasn’t happy with the results. Now, he does that work himself. 

“I want to have that control,” explained Carbee. “I do everything here on the farm.”

And the results, he said, are worth it.

“A farm raised bird, there’s no comparison with a store-bought one,” said Carbee, who said that even outside of holidays, when he’s not raising turkeys, he steers clear of store birds – knowing the difference, he said, it’s not worth it. 

At the final stages of his bird’s growth, said Carbee, he feeds them corn, which puts a layer of fat on them, making them “self-basting,” he explained. 

“People always want to know how long they should cook them, but I always say the same thing,” he said. “Just use a thermometer and your mother’s favorite recipe.”

The birds will be sold on a first-come, f irst-served basis for $6 per pound. Typically, birds range from 16-24 pounds. If you are interested in purchasing, contact Carbee at 588-2519 or 464-9218. 

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.