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Homegrown turkeys for Thanksgiving

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FOUNTAIN, Minn. (KTTC) -- If you don't already have a turkey for Thanksgiving, it's likely on your list of things to buy. In about a week most families will be sitting down to a festive feast, with a turkey as their centerpiece. So, where is your turkey coming from?

This is the fourth year that Hilltop Pastures Family Farm in Fountain has been selling homegrown turkeys for Thanksgiving.

Already last summer the Austin family, owners of Hilltop Pastures, knew how many turkeys they'd be producing and selling this holiday.

"We sold out this summer," said co-owner Sara Austin.

Two years ago the Austins raised 300 turkeys, but this year they downsized to only 30.

Most people pick their turkey out of a frozen cooler at the grocery store, because it's convenient and there are a lot to chose from.

So besides the obvious factor that organic turkeys don't have added supplements, what makes them so special?

"Having a local homegrown turkey, it's something special. It's like finding a real Christmas tree on Christmas. We kind of think it's a family tradition," explained Sara.

The birds are grown in moveable crates, where they live outdoors and can eat fresh grass. Austin says the price of their birds went up this year, due to the high cost of corn for feed.

"Last year we were around $5 dollars a pound and this year we're at $6.99 a pound," said Sara.

Before customers can eat the turkey, the Austin family butchers it, strips the bird of its feathers and guts it. The entire process takes about 10 minutes per bird.

Depending upon the breed of turkey, it takes anywhere from 16 to 26 weeks for a turkey to mature.

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