LIVINGSTON, Calif., Nov. 24, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- This morning, President Obama pardoned the California-raised National Thanksgiving Turkey – Apple, and his alternate, Cider – in a traditional pre-Thanksgiving ceremony held in the White House Rose Garden. The national birds, raised by Livingston, Calif.-based, family-owned poultry company Foster Farms, were presented by Yubert Envia, National Turkey Federation (NTF) Chairman and Vice President of Turkey for Foster Farms.
The National Thanksgiving Turkey is presented to the President of the United States in a tradition with the National Turkey Federation dating back to 1947. This year's birds, who behaved beautifully during their official ceremony duties, will now retire to Mount Vernon – George Washington's historic estate – where they will live out the rest of their days.
A Turlock, Calif., native, Envia had the distinct honor of being invited to raise the National Thanksgiving Turkey in his role as NTF Chairman. It is the first time in 15 years that a California turkey grower has had the privilege of raising the official birds and a first for Foster Farms.
"On behalf of the National Turkey Federation and Foster Farms, I'm proud to have raised this year's National Thanksgiving Turkey and his alternate; they represent a California tradition of great quality," said Envia, who has enjoyed a 22-year tenure at Foster Farms. "We took great care – as we do with all of our turkeys – to ensure Apple and Cider's optimal comfort, health and growing conditions."
The National Thanksgiving Turkey and his alternate were raised on historic Wellsford Ranch in Modesto, Calif., on one of the company's original turkey farms in the heart of The Central Valley. Foster Farms has a 71-year legacy of raising wholesome, premium turkeys, dating back to 1939 when Max and Verda Foster began growing turkeys in the backyard of their Waterford, Calif., home. Ron Foster, Max and Verda's grandson and Foster Farms' CEO, attended today's White House ceremony.
The National Thanksgiving Turkey and his alternate were hand-selected by Envia from a carefully hatched and grown flock of 25 tom, or male, turkeys. The Nicholas Strain birds, a breed which originated in California's Sonoma Valley, are – upon maturity – prized for their thick, white, smooth plumage and brightly colored heads.
Prior to the finalists' official duties in Washington D.C., a select few of their brothers made the rounds to educate consumers and local schoolchildren through a partnership and school curriculum developed with California and Washington Agriculture in the Classroom. The students learned about the Presidential Turkey Pardon and Foster Farms' longstanding commitment to raising premium turkeys. More than 200 suggested names were submitted by California schoolchildren and President Obama revealed the chosen names – submitted by a second grade student from May Grisham School in Santa Barbara County, Calif., – during today's ceremony.
Fresh Foster Farms turkeys are always natural and always fresh with no added steroids or hormones, and no preservatives or added saltwater.
SOURCE Foster Farms