California Turkey Receives Presidential Pardon-- Happiest Turkey On Earth & Other Trivia

For the first time in 15 years a turkey from California will receive the ceremonial presidential pardon (from Barack Obama). Foster Farms was selected to provide the birds that will be flown to Washington D.C. to receive pardon (several birds are sent, as one year the chosen turkey flew away).

Seven California turkey producers among the candidates were Foster Farms in Livingston, Zacky Farms in Fresno, Mary's Free Range Turkeys in Sanger, Central Coast Farms in Turlock, Diestel Family Turkey Ranch in Sonora, Shelton's in Pomona and Willie Bird Turkeys in Santa Rosa.

Foster Farms was chosen to supply the birds that will receive the presidential pardon, but the pardoned turkey won't be heading to Disneyland, like turkeys have for the past five years. The California native will get a dream trip to Mt. Vernon, Virginia, home of George Washington, the nation's first president.

Each year a lucky turkey gets a presidential pardon and goes off on some fantasy vacation to live out its days happily at select place, such as Disneyland. When we previously ran a story about one such turkey being pardoned, an organization contacted us, telling us of their efforts to get the turkeys sent to their special farm that treats the turkeys with respect and love.

The White House  pardoned turkey won't go to Disneyland in Anaheim, but there are some truly happy turkeys in California. One of the best places for them to live should they be born into the lap of luxury is Carmel Valley Ranch. Set among the graceful hills east of the ocean and downtown area of Carmel, the Ranch has numerous wild turkeys that can be seen roaming the world class greens of the golf course on site. When you are golfing, it is pure delight to watch wild turkey and deer roam across the greens.

As you plan your Thanksgiving meal, there are many fun places to see in California, and some allow you to see turkeys without eating them. Should you decide to NOT forgo the time-honored tradition of the American Thanksgiving Feast-Turkey with stuffing & gravy, cranberry relish, mashed or sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie, you may want to know a few turkey trivia facts.

Facts & Trivia About Turkeys

Age is a determining factor in taste. Old, large males are preferable to young toms, while the opposite is true for females- old hens are tougher birds.

Turkey is the only breed of poultry native to the Western Hemisphere.

How the turkey got its name - It is possible that Christopher Columbus named the turkey when he discovered land he thought was connected to India. The bird he saw there seemed like a type of peacock so he called it tuka, which is  peacock  in Tamil, an Indian language.

Benjamin Franklin argued passionately on behalf of making the turkey America's national symbol, instead of the bald eagle.

More than 242 million turkeys were raised in the U.S. in 2010. U.S. Department of Agriculture says that around 45 million turkeys are cooked and eaten in the U.S. at Thanksgiving--that's one sixth of all turkeys sold in the U.S. each year. The turkeys produced in 2009 together weighed 7.1 billion pounds and were valued at $3.6 billion.

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