Okay, who’s excited for Thanksgiving? The golden-brown turkey, bursting with the perfect mix of stuffing, plus all the fixin’s – cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, oh the gravy! Wipe the drool off your chin for a moment and consider this – what if turkey dinner didn’t have to be a once or twice a year kind of thing? What if you could eat turkey every day?
That’s what the folks at Langley staple JD Farms think life should be like. It doesn’t have to be a full roast every day for dinner, but turkey’s potential is massively overlooked in most people’s day-to-day meal planning.
“It’s just how we’ve been conditioned. The traditional thing growing up here in Canada is that you have your Christmas turkey or your Thanksgiving turkey,” says Janice McWilliams, office manager at the family-owned farm.
“We’re trying to get people out of that rut. We eat turkey every day. Absolutely anything you can think of that you can make for a meal, we can make it with turkey. We have lasagnas, we have pizzas, we have 16 different kinds of sausages, we have wieners, we actually have a turkey ham— we call it a cottage roll but it tastes just like ham— there are pre-made meals, meatloaves, meatballs, roasts, bacon — pretty much everything.”
Jack and Debbie Froese started the turkey farm over 30 years ago. Jack decided to farm turkeys while he was working as a police officer in the Vancouver Police Department. Pretty soon, Jack and Debbie discovered an untapped niche in the turkey market – the gap between regular turkeys and organic turkeys. They eventually developed their own certification process for their specialty turkeys, which are given no antibiotics and fed no animal byproducts. Their birds (three to five thousand of them in the farm’s two barns during the growing season) are free run – like all turkeys raised in Canada.
But back to dinner. There are a few myths around turkey that Janice thinks need to be debunked. One reason many people don’t roast more turkeys during other parts of the year is because they can be quite a bit bigger than the most common poultry option, chicken. If you’re not feeding the extended family, it can be a lot of meat. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
“There are different choices. We do have half turkeys. We raise the hens as well so we do get some smaller 8- to 10-pound turkeys, which is not that much bigger than a chicken. And we also do the roasts. So if you only want three or four or five pounds, you get a small roast. You can get it mixed or stuffed or unstuffed. We do parts, too. Some people just want the breast or just want the thigh meat, so you can come get a few of those and cook them up that way.”
It’s also a bit healthier than some other meats, with about 3.2 more grams of protein than chicken per 100 grams of meat.
“For a white meat, it’s a really good healthy choice,” Janice says. “We actually have a lot of bodybuilders that come and get our ground breast meat. It’s one of the only meats they’ll eat and they say it’s because it’s as clean a meat as you can get. There are a lot of doctors and naturopaths in the area that recommend our turkey meat for their patients that have sensitivities or illnesses because it’s such a clean meat.”
If you’re not quite sure how to prepare turkey in any other way than a magnificent holiday spread (seriously, stop drooling), JD Farms’ bistro may be a great place to gather some inspiration. The restaurant, which is in the same building as the retail shop, serves up turkey creations for breakfast and lunch every day. Two of the top items these day are the turkey broccoli cheddar curry and the turkey parmesan cutlet, but they’re constantly coming up with new ideas (you can find more inspiration on the website’s recipe section).
But what about tryptophan – that mysterious amino acid said to cause sleepiness after consuming turkey? Total myth, according to Janice.
“There really isn’t enough in there that it would do anything at all. What people don’t realize is when they’re having that huge turkey dinner they’re usually also having the mashed potatoes and the gravy and the butter and the buns, all the other stuff in there that is just an overload on carbohydrates. So they get this rush and then, yeah, they’re going to get tired afterwards,” she laughs.
So really, there’s no reason not to bring turkey into your life year-round – it just doesn’t always have to be accompanied by a mashed potato and gravy volcano. But don’t worry, Thanksgiving and Christmas will still always come once a year.
Experience JD Farms
Visit the JD Farms store and bistro at the farm on the corner of 248th Street and 52nd Avenue in Langley.
They’re open from 9 am to 6 pm Monday to Saturday and 10 am to 5 pm on Sundays (the bistro closes 30 minutes earlier)