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CBC news: The Christmas rush is on at this local turkey farm

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Paul Larkin December 2016
Paul Larkin loads some of the 3,000 to 3,500 turkeys he will deliver just in time for Christmas. (Brian Higgin/CBC)

Thousands of fresh, oven-ready birds bound for local stores and homes
By Brian Higgins, CBC News Posted: Dec 22, 2016 7:00 PM AT – read on

Paul and Harvey Larkin are working overtime this week. The brothers are shipping out more than 3,000 fresh, oven-ready turkeys from their farm in New Glasgow, P.E.I.

Harvey Larkin said the fresh birds were processed and packaged Tuesday. (Brian Higgins/CBC)
Harvey Larkin said the fresh birds were processed and packaged Tuesday. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

“This is by far our busiest week of the year and Christmas is a turkey season,” said Paul Larkin. “Little corner stores have them as well as the Loblaws and the Sobeys in Charlottetown, Summerside and Montague.”

Neighbours are also dropping in to pick up birds to take home.

The farm is busy, with staff working inside two refrigerated tractor trailers, where they select and sort the birds, choosing them one by one as they fill each order.

Some staff used forklifts to place bins full of turkeys in the back of Larkin’s pickup truck.

turkey delivery
Paul Larkin carries a fresh turkey into the cooler of a grocery store in Rustico. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Throughout Thursday, he made trips to local stores to keep the shelves full.

“The buy local movement over the last few years has kind of gained momentum,” said Paul Larkin. “People today are more aware of what they’re eating and where their food comes from. They just like to buy local if they can.”

A few metres from the loading zone, a flock of live turkeys is enclosed by a fence across an open barn door.

The large white-feathered birds are among the 10,000 to 12,000 turkeys produced by Larkin Bros. Poultry each year.

“They’re pretty fidgety when they’re young,” said Larkin. “You’ve really got to care for them to make sure they don’t crowd.”

“The biggest joke, sometimes when you meet somebody, they say, oh, you’re the turkey guy,” said Paul Larkin. “So that’s me, I’m the turkey guy.”

The Larkin brothers will have turkeys for sale at Charlottetown Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning.