Dale Peterson arrived in Cannon Falls in 1939 ready to do what he loved – growing free-range turkeys. Having studied poultry science in college, Dale was looking for land ideally suited for his turkey farm. He found his farm in the Little Cannon River Valley, and we still call that land home today. Shortly after he got started, Dale met his wife-to-be, Fern. We are proud that all our turkey products bear the names of our founders and first generation: Fern & Dale.
Although the faces on the turkey farm have changed in 75 years, our practices have remained much the same. Fern and Dale’s son, Dick, and his wife, Jane, continued the family’s tradition. Now their own son, John, and his wife, Erica, carry our farm into our third generation. Like Dale, we continue to grow our turkeys free-range during the warmer months and move our birds to fresh pasture weekly all summer, so they have access to clean air and fresh grass, exceeding the space minimums for organic turkeys.
We let all our Ferndale turkeys grow naturally, without the use of antibiotics or artificial growth promotants, and they enjoy constant access to a diet of grains, vitamins, and minerals from a local feed mill. We don’t think there’s any substitute for excellent care and husbandry and we take pride in creating an environment that maintains turkey health without medications.
Our family has been fortunate to work side-by-side with our dedicated employees; in fact, we have staff that has worked on our turkey farm for decades. They know the dips in the pastures and the tricks to moving range fences as well as we do! As demand has grown, we’ve also partnered with other area farms to grow some of our birds, according to our protocols, to match sizing and availability.
All Ferndale turkeys are processed-naturally, without additives or fillers, at a USDA facility. When you believe in the quality of the product like we do, there’s no reason to mask the flavor with sodium and added flavors.
Our heritage will be evident if you visit us during the summer, when you’re likely to see our free-range turkeys outside, happily spending their days in the rolling hills of the Little Cannon River Valley. Just like they have since 1939.