ERLANGER, Ky. – He may not sell the cheapest birds, but Dan Tewes promises he sells the biggest, and freshest turkeys to grace a Thanksgiving table in Northern Kentucky.
“It sells itself,” Tews said. “I mean (the customers) taste that bird, and they come back every year. Many customers have said, ‘That’s the best bird I ever had.'"
Dan is the owner of Tewes Poultry Farm, a 30-acre plot tucked between an industrial park and I-75.
“Probably the only one in the state of Kentucky,” he said of his family farm as a feathered sea of white hens and toms filled pens.
Dan’s father, John started the farm in 1944. His grandfather, also named John, began his own hatchery near Crestview Hills before that. Dan’s the thirteenth of 17 children.
Tewes' corn feeds birds from hatchlings beginning in July and sells them for about $2.75 per pound fully grown.
“I’ve heard some stores are selling turkeys for $.99 a pound. You can’t raise a turkey for that price, not with corn prices going up,” Dan said.
Of course, he adds, the difference in price between one of his fresh birds (Dan usually won’t sell anything under 15 pounds) and a frozen, store-bought turkey hasn’t slowed his business.
“The only bad year is when the economy fell in 2008, and I think everybody had a bad year that year,” he said. “From here it looks like it’s going to be busier than ever, and my turkeys are going to be bigger than ever because Thanksgiving is a week later.”
This holiday season Dan’s family will dress and sell about 2,000 turkeys ordered over the phone or online. The remaining 1,000 are held back for those who drive in. Due to the lateness of Thanksgiving, each of those birds this year will weigh about two pounds more compared birds to last year.
“Most of my turkeys last year went 20 to 24. This year they are going to go 22 to 26 on the big hens,” Dan said. “I’ve heard stores are going to be short on big turkeys. Well, I’m not going to be short on big turkeys.”
In early November, Butterball sent a release stating they would have few fresh turkeys at more than 16 pounds due to issues with getting the birds to gain weight.
When asked if he expected his father’s farm to have such longevity as Northern Kentucky continues to grow, he did not hesitate in his response.
“I expected it. With more people moving in, you have more customers.”
Tewes Farm sells chickens, eggs, and some turkeys throughout the year. For more information visit the farm's website or call 859-341-8844.