Alumnus raises special turkeys on a special farm
Thanksgiving is only days away, which means that most of Joe and Amanda Jones' turkey flock is spoken for.
The word "heritage" refers to non-commercial breeds that have been around for generations. The Joneses' 43-acre farm is in northern Richland County and it's been in Joe's family since the mid 1800s.
"Most of our business is by word of mouth, attracting people who like to be able to come to a farm and actually see the food they're going to eat," said Joe, who has bachelor's and master's (marine science) degrees from USC. He met Amanda at the University of California-Santa Cruz while he was earning a Ph.D. in biology.
Commercially-raised turkeys and chickens are confined in temperature-controlled poultry houses and fed a finely tuned mix of feed and supplements.
Doko Farm turkey
The poultry that the Joneses raise are hardier breeds that live outdoors.
"We set up electric fence netting to keep predators like coyotes and foxes away, but otherwise they're free to roam," Amanda said. "Sometimes, they fly into the trees, which makes rounding them up a little difficult."
Pasture-raised turkeys fetch a higher price at market because it takes more work to raise them and, the Joneses say, they taste better.
"These turkeys have a very rich flavor right down to their bones, which can be used to make soup stock," he said.
In addition to pasture-raised poultry, the Joneses' farm -- called Doko Farm -- also provides eggs and seasonal produce, which they sell at farmers markets. They also raise pygmy goats, which serve as organic lawn mowers on the property, and keep a beehive for honey and to pollinate crops.
The Joneses also are restoring the original 19th-century house built by his great-great-grandfather on the farm property. When it's completed, they and their 15-month-old daughter, Phoebe, will become the fifth and sixth generations to live in the house.
Check out Doko Farm at http://sites.google.com/site/dokofarm.