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Turkey Farm Grew Into Regional Market
When Dick and Jane Peterson’s son, John, and daughter-in-law, Erica, came back to the farm they started looking for ways to grow their operation. Expanding the turkey farm was not an option. So they decided to direct-sell the turkeys they were already producing.
  Ferndale Market grew out of the new business plan. It would serve as a retail outlet while they built a wholesale business. Today they provide high quality turkey to more than 70 restaurants, schools, colleges and other retailers across a five state area.
  “We raise about 200,000 turkeys each year, starting in the early spring with the birds inside buildings, but with outdoor yards they can use when they want,” explains John. “In the summer they’re completely free range with outdoor shelters on fresh grass. We rotate pastures weekly. In the fall they are back in the buildings with the outdoor yards once again available.”
  Their turkeys are raised naturally without added hormones or antibiotics in the feed. Later they’re processed at a USDA approved facility, again without any artificial additives being used.
  “We sell whole turkeys, breasts, ground turkey, and sausage, a total of about 15 retail products in all,” says John.
  The Petersons also reached out to other small producers within 100 miles. “Over the course of the year, we obtain products from more than 70 different producers, from seasonal fresh raspberries to beef, pork and lamb year round.”
  John says the business has worked out well for everyone involved.
  “You need both the retail and wholesale components,” he says. “You also need a market with consumers interested in knowing where their food comes from and where the animals are raised. Finally, you need other suppliers around you to build relationships with and partner.”
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Ferndale Market, 31659 County 24 Blvd., Cannon Falls, Minn. 55009 (ph 507 263-4556; www.ferndalemarketonline.com).

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2012 - Volume #36, Issue #2