Sunday, October 7, 2012
On Hatteberg's People, Ally Britton didn't know turkeys were her future. She was a classically trained chef, but life's left turns always surprise us. We head to just south of Ellsworth to the Prairie Dancer Turkey Farm.
"This will be my home from now on. I can't think of any other place I would rather be," Britton said. "I've never done any kind of livestock before, and so this year was my year to get my feet wet to see how I like it."
Ally bought 20 acres of land, a house with barns and sheds and began her turkey career.
"Well, I've always been a free spirit. I've always looked at different things to do that will challenge me. I've always been very adventuresome. Having projects to do is what I enjoy the most," she said.
The turkeys are specially bred Heritage Turkeys from legendary poultry master Frank Reese. Reese's reputation for saving the Heritage breed is known throughout the Midwest.
"The birds get fed chemical-free food along with a high-protein diet. Their food is subsidized with what they get out here on the free range," Britton said.
Ally's career was as a chef in Breckenridge, Colorado for three restaurants and for one in Abilene. She came back to Kansas to assist her family.
"Taking care of turkeys has become a passion, just like my culinary background," she said.
When the turkeys are out of season, Ally will add a commercial kitchen and a workplace where she'll offer catering services and market a mustard she developed during her chef career.
"So far, I think it is a lot of fun. It takes a lot of work. I used to be out on the golf course, but now I'm chasing turkeys," she said.
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, the birds will be processed and sold. Ally is taking orders now. Next year she will start the process again with about a thousand Heritage birds.
"I'm just trying to break even my first year. So between this and my mustard line, I don't see myself doing any more than staying right here. There are a lot of places I like going to, but I like coming home here," she said.
If you would like to talk turkey with Ally she can be reached at the Prairie Dancer Turkey Farm by phone at 785-472-7065 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.