Last week, with Thanksgiving approaching, Adam Chodak drove out to Stonecrop Farm in Rush to talk with turkey farmers Jenney Stringer and her husband, Greg Hartt.
Adam: How many turkeys do you have roughly?
Greg: Right now we have about 140 turkeys on the farm.
Adam: What does the care look like for a turkey?
Greg: For the first 6-8 weeks, they’re incredibly fragile, they need really warm temperatures, plenty of dry space, light and good quality feed and water. They get moved onto fresh grass when they’re younger, every 4 days and this time of year, every other day and sometimes every day. They’re kept on a great pasture and they’re moved onto fresh ground so they’re healthy and clean and getting nutrients from the grass and the nutrients they’re eating outside.
Jenney: They’re certified organic so the feed that they get is really high quality and a lot of what they get from their diet is from the grass and the bugs and the worms and that’s really what turkeys should be eating. That informs the quality of the meat and the flavor.
Adam: So how did this happen?
Greg: We both went to college at Upstate New York, I spent time on a farm outside of Albany and then we both went off to grad school on the west coast for a few years and during the time I was getting a Ph.D. realized that I really love working outdoors and loved farming a lot more than what I was doing at grad school so when we finished up grad school, we moved back to Upstate New York for Jenney’s job and to be closer to family and we started farming out here in Henrietta.
Adam: You have your Ph.D. not in poultry farming. How’s that transition been for you?
Greg: There’s not a lot of atmospheric chemistry that’s directly applicable to farming, but there are a lot of other skills that I’ve gained from the Ph.D. that have really come in handy from critical analysis to quantitative management and frankly spreadsheet skills.
Adam: So what do you think of this lifestyle?
Jenney: I love it! I kind of always knew we were going to have a homestead just given our passions.
Note: You can find Jenney and Greg most weekends outside the winter months at the Brighton Farmers Market.