Bowman & Landes Raises Free-Range Turkeys

For more than 100 years, this family-owned farm has been letting turkeys roam free, in a quest to bring you better birds.

The night they’re born, turkeys come to Bowman & Landes, where they spend their entire life cycles. It’s one way the turkey farm is uncommon in its field: “Outside of a hatchery, we’re a fully integrated farm,” says Drew Bowman, the farm’s co-owner. “We don’t have to truck the turkeys to a third-party harvesting facility. It makes a healthier, more flavorful bird.”

Photograph by Chris Von Holle

Bowman & Landes in New Carlisle is a century farm. Bowman’s great-grandfather bought it in 1915, and it became a turkey farm in 1948. The Bowman and Landes families continue to run the operation to this day.

Photograph by Chris Von Holle

Though Bowman studied and worked in the finance industry for eight years, the family business pulled him back. “My perspective changed,” he says. “I really enjoy working with family, [and] I also like the small business aspect of it. And there’s so much variety.”

Bowman estimates that 90 percent of the turkey industry keeps its birds in barns exclusively, but Bowman & Landes has been free-range since its inception, when free-range farms were the norm. “The turkeys come and go as they please,” he says. “There is added labor, but we like to think turkeys are kind of like humans, and when it’s nice outside, fresh air and sunshine are good for them.”

The farm raises an average of 70,000 turkeys per year. New chicks in July become the large, 25-pound Thanksgiving turkeys, and the mid-August arrivals the smaller, 12-pound holiday birds.

Bowman & Landes Turkeys, 6490 Ross Rd., New Carlisle, (937) 845-9466

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