Tag Archives: Minnesota Turkey Growers Association

Yes, June Really is Turkey Lovers’ Month!

4 Jun

June is Turkey Lovers' Month | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

Happy June is Turkey Lovers’ Month, people! And as luck would have it, today I was able to spend most of my time at a turkey farm, taking photos and videos for an upcoming event we have going on for the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association.

My coworker, Erica, is part of a fourth-generation family farm that raises breeder hen turkeys, and her Dad is on Minnesota Turkey’s Board of Directors, too. Their family graciously allowed us to visit the farm and ruffle a few turkey feathers in the barn with our cameras. :-)

I also was able to meet Erica’s grandparents, who were very involved in the Minnesota Turkey organization, as well, when they were younger. Such lovely folks and we had so much fun hanging with the turkeys and this fine family today! #GobbleOn

June is Turkey Lovers' Month | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

This is my coworker Erica and her Dad, Dana, near the entrance of their farm, which has been in the family since 1866! At lunch, Dana should me the coolest photo of his grandfather doing chores in a turkey barn.

June is Turkey Lovers' Month | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com#CoworkerSelfie – this almost seems like too much fun to be work! ;-) I have terrific coworkers who make me laugh everyday.

June is Turkey Lovers' Month | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

Look at these lovely ladies – very curious hens who were interested to find out more about the new visitors to their barn.

June is Turkey Lovers' Month | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

And here we are – Erica, myself, Teresa (“T2″) and Teresa (“T1″). Oh, and that guy on a stick in the back? That’s the boss man, Steve, who was at a conference in Memphis this week and couldn’t join us on the farm. You could say we brought him in spirit!

Happy June is Turkey Lovers’ Month, everyone!

Wordless Wednesday: Turkey Tussle

9 Apr

Turkey tussle, anyone?

A few years ago while coordinating the annual Thanksgiving Media Day for the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, I attempted to shoot a little video for our members, letting them know what was happening and thanking them for their assistance and support of this event.

I had good intentions. Unfortunately, I had one very curious tom (male) turkey steal the show from me!

I happened upon the video this week and decided I’d share it with you, because … well, why not? It made me chuckle watching it all over again. After all my years of “talking turkey,” sometimes the best thing to do is just sit back and see what those birds decide to do!

Thanksgiving in Washington DC: #PresidentialTurkey13

1 Dec

Thanksgiving in Washington DC - #PresidentialTurkey13 | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

I apologize in advance that I’m not going to be able to write a completely coherent blog post about Thanksgiving week. I seriously am staring at my computer screen at a loss for the right words to describe my experiences last week in Washington DC.

Thrilling. Hilarious. Exhausting. Surreal. Memories of a lifetime.

How else can you describe traveling to our nation’s Capitol to attend the National Thanksgiving Turkey pardoning ceremony at the White House?

How do you convey how amazing it was to be welcomed into the White House (seriously – inside the White House!), where we could walk from room to room, free to take photos of so many historical treasures?

How is it possible we were served hot cider in White House china by White House staff?

And that’s all before the pardoning ceremony took place.

Soon, we were nestled under umbrellas (thanks to my boss man!) on the North Portico of the White House, awaiting President Obama and his two daughters. We had a myriad of media and cameras behind us and “Popcorn” – the National Thanksgiving Turkey from Minnesota – in front of us, strutting around like he owned the place.

What a proud moment it was for me to watch the Burkel family from Badger, MN, walk out to the ceremony after having a private meet-and-greet with President Obama himself. I’ve known this family nearly as long as I’ve worked for the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, and I know they were taking all of this in with their five children.

The day prior to the ceremony was full of funny moments – as we watched photographers from The Washington Post, Politico and others take pictures of the two turkeys, who, incidentally, had their very own room at The Willard Hotel. Teacher Man and I stayed right across the hall from the birds, and occasionally, we could hear them gobble to a noise they must have heard.

Teacher Man took a cab to the Dr. King monument and had an extended conversation with the cab driver about how cool it was to have the turkeys in Washington DC. My boss sat down to eat breakfast at a restaurant near the hotel, only to overhear a family discussing which turkey they should vote for – Popcorn or Caramel – in the White House voting contest. Nearly everyone, it seems, loves this turkey pardoning ceremony in Washington DC.

We even tried to get #PresidentialTurkey13 trending on Twitter! We didn’t quite make it, but we had many people from all over the U.S. share our Tweets and join in the excitement.

Which leads us all back to the White House, where Teacher Man and I were just a mere 15-20 feet away from the President of the United States. We were thrilled to be part of this little moment in history – and neither one of us could have ever predicted years ago that we would be standing on the North Portico watching the President give a short speech.

Thrilling. Hilarious. Exhausting. Surreal. Memories of a lifetime. And thankful to be a part of it all.

Thanksgiving in Washington DC - #PresidentialTurkey13 | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.comPopcorn showing everyone that he’s the “man” of the hour, awaiting his Presidential pardon at the North Portico of the White House.

Thanksgiving in Washington DC - #PresidentialTurkey13 | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.comYep, we were this close.

Thanksgiving in Washington DC - #PresidentialTurkey13 | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

The actual pardoning of Popcorn.

Thanksgiving in Washington DC - #PresidentialTurkey13 | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.comHere I am before the ceremony, admiring Jackie Kennedy’s portrait.

Thanksgiving in Washington DC - #PresidentialTurkey13 | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.comTeacher Man and the Abraham Lincoln portrait.

Thanksgiving in Washington DC - #PresidentialTurkey13 | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.comPiano music filled the air at the White House prior to the pardoning ceremony.

Thanksgiving in Washington DC - #PresidentialTurkey13 | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.comWhite House cider in White House china!

Thanksgiving in Washington DC - #PresidentialTurkey13 | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.comThe day before the pardoning ceremony was filled with media interviews and photo shoots for the turkeys and for National Turkey Federation Chairman John Burkel (left – wearing the glasses). Here, if I recall correctly, the birds were looking pretty – errr, I mean handsome – for the Washington Post. This room was right across the hall from ours!

Thanksgiving in Washington DC - #PresidentialTurkey13 | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.comA real behind-the-scenes look at what this whole project takes – here’s National Turkey Federation Chairman John Burkel vacuuming wood shavings (from the floor of the turkeys’ room) off the pant legs of a Washington Post reporter. :-)

Thanksgiving in Washington DC - #PresidentialTurkey13 | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.comAnd the Burkel family with Popcorn after the pardoning ceremony – what a wonderful family and such an amazing experience for them!

01a1066e9858dba9399ee837a5b3439a28ed0913c6And finally … I had to repost this photo at The Willard Hotel because the #PoultryNerd in me loves this! There are so many reasons why I love my job, but this definitely has to be one of them!

Goodnight, Turkeys.

6 Nov

Garden shed - turned turkey barn for Minnesota Presidential Flock 2013 | via myothermoreexcitingself.wordpress.com

My Wordless Wednesday has a few words. I can’t help it. I write. That’s what I do. I love taking pictures, but I love captioning them too. So you’ll forgive me, right?

Goodnight, Minnesota’s Presidential turkeys. They are tucked away, cozy in this beautiful and festive garden shed-turned-turkey-barn, at least for the next couple of weeks.

Soon enough, two of the most well-behaved birds will be picked to travel to Washington DC for a very Presidential pardon at the White House. (Although, I have a strong hunch my farmer friend, John, already knows who is up for the trip.) At that point, life will be all camera flashes, video interviews and livestreaming to the world.

For tonight, though, it’s a quiet, peaceful existence under this big huge sky, where even a gobble may go undetected.

Goodnight, turkeys.

Gobbling for a Presidential Pardon

23 Oct

Presidential Turkey Hopefuls | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

I’ve been working on a very special project this month and I finally get to share it with you!

If you’ve read my blog before, then you know I work for the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. This fall, one of our members, who raises turkeys on his family farm in far northwestern Minnesota (How far? No offense, but you can practically see Canada from his farm!), is expected to get an official invitation from the White House to bring a turkey for the National Thanksgiving Turkey pardoning ceremony with President Obama.

What you may not even realize is this ceremony has quite a history to it – it’s been held every year since Harry S. Truman was President in the 1940s. (Well, I better clarify – it wasn’t officially a “pardoning” ceremony until President George H.W. Bush declared it so in 1989, but it still has been a long-standing tradition to bring a turkey to the White House.)

How cool is that?

So I’ve been busy working with staff at the office to update our website, gather photos of the special “Presidential Flock” being raised (like the one above) and creating a fun, little intro video of the birds and John Burkel, the farmer who will be invited.

And why is John the lucky guy, you ask?   John is the 2013 Chairman of the National Turkey Federation, which means one of his many roles is to serve as the spokesman for the turkey industry in the U.S., and I would bet that getting this invite from the White House will probably be the highlight of his family’s year.

I’ve known John and his wife, Joni, for a lot of years (and I mean,  A LOT) of years. They have five pretty awesome kids, ranging from kindergarten to college-age – and the entire family will be traveling to DC for the pardoning ceremony. Did I mention they are from Badger, Minnesota? Population 370. (Hellooooo Canada and all that.) And the entire family will be at the White House – talk about a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

So anyway, finally today we had all the initial pieces together and ready to go so I did my first posts on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

You can read all about it on our website, but I wanted to share a couple of pieces with you right now:

President Truman's National Thanksgiving Turkey |  via myothermoreexcitingself.wordpress.com

I am sharing this photo because 1) that’s President Truman on the left, and more importantly (at least to me), 2) that’s Grady McCulley on the far right. Now I realize Grady McCulley is not a name you would know – but if I know my turkey history (and usually I do), he was the first Minnesotan to present a turkey to the U.S. President on behalf of the National Turkey Federation. And because I’ve worked forever and a day at the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (okay, 18 years – but still), I was lucky enough to meet Grady several times! He was such a smart, funny, friendly guy and I learned a lot from sitting around talking to him.

This video introduces you to the 2013 Presidential Flock and John Burkel. I pieced it together with a bunch of video footage John sent my way a week or so ago – nothing too fancy but it’s fun. And I crack up every time I watch it because there is one turkey that really seems to like the camera. I’m a dork like that, though. :-)

If you’d like to follow along with this whole project, you can do so by liking Minnesota Turkey on Facebook, following on Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey), following us on Pinterest, and visiting the Presidential Turkey website we have created. And be sure to check out our turkey naming contest, too, and start brainstorming!

Until next time … enjoy!

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