Ridgecrest Turkey Farm re-opens

By on October 21, 2019
Travis Mattison reopened Ridgecrest Turkey Farm this year, taking on the task of raising 1,100 turkeys for the Thanksgiving season.

Travis Mattison reopened Ridgecrest Turkey Farm this year, taking on the task of raising 1,100 turkeys for the Thanksgiving season.

Ridgecrest Turkey Farm, 7341 Ridge Road West, Brockport, will be open this Thanksgiving season, for the first time since 2015, selling their free-range, broad breast white meat turkeys that are free of growth hormones and antibiotics.

The farm has been family owned and operated by the Mattison family since 1984. Originally Sharon and Mark Mattison started raising turkeys after Sharon’s parents, who owned a turkey farm on Gilmore Road in Brockport, decided to get out of the business. They asked if they could store their equipment on the Mattison’s farm. Sharon had the equipment available to her and decided to try turkey farming. They started with 600 turkeys in the first season, and they sold them all. At the height of their turkey farming business they were raising and selling 1,600 turkeys to local families for their Thanksgiving dinners. 

Sharon and Mark Mattison and their three children, Scott, Kelly, and Travis, ran the farm for many successful years. They developed a large and loyal customer following who looked forward to their fresh turkeys every year. Since 1984, travelers on West Ridge Road could track the turkeys’ progress every late summer and fall as they grew, developed, and roamed two acres of pasture along the roadway. 

After a three year absence, this familiar scene of turkeys roaming the pasture once again greets travelers on West Ridge Road.

After a three year absence, this familiar scene of turkeys roaming the pasture once again greets travelers on West Ridge Road.

In 2012, Mark Mattison passed away. Sharon and her son Scott ran the farm for a few years until it became too much for her. The turkey farm closed for three years, missing the 2016, 2017, and 2018 seasons.

This year, youngest son Travis Mattison reopened Ridgecrest Turkey Farm. Travis said, “I have wanted to go back to the farm since I got out of the service. I have always wanted to be a farmer because my dad was a farmer.”

After graduating from high school, Travis Mattison spent four years in the Army that included a tour in Afghanistan. When he returned home, he told his dad that he wanted to come back to the farm. His father insisted he go to college before returning to farming life. Travis spent two years at Alfred University and then transferred to Cornell University. Travis, who is 27 years old, will graduate from Cornell this coming December with a degree in Soil and Crop Science.

Travis has taken on the job of raising 1,100 turkeys for this upcoming 2019 season. The process of raising turkeys begins the first week of July when a shipment of one-day-old hatchlings is received from a farm in West Virginia. For the first three weeks, the hatchlings are kept under 100-degree heat lamps and fed turkey starter. They stay in the barn until the middle of August when the turkeys are large enough go out into their two-acre pasture. “We raise and grind all of the corn for the feed for the turkeys,” Travis said. 

The turkey barn is equipped with fans to keep it cool, and the floors are covered with special, locally sourced wood chips and straw for bedding. “I’ve been asked where the turkeys are when people drive by and don’t see them. Typically on really hot days, they choose to be in the barn with the fans and soft bedding,” he said. It takes approximately 22 weeks for the turkeys to reach their full growth. The mature turkeys range from 20 to 40 pounds in weight. 

Turkeys are processed on Friday and Saturday before Thanksgiving and are ready for pick up on Monday through Wednesday of Thanksgiving week. Friends and family all help out in the processing, which is conducted in Ridgecrest’s NYS Approved and Inspected slaughterhouse.

This year, Ridgecrest Turkey Farm joined The New York State Grown & Certified Program. The New York State Grown & Certified seal on agricultural products indicates that the farm this product comes from has been inspected for safe food handling and environmental stewardship. The label lets you know your food was grown properly, right here in New York State. Travis said, “We do all we can to support the farmers around us and to source locally.” 

To order your fresh turkey for this Thanksgiving, call Ridgecrest Turkey Farm at 585-637-8422.

Photos by Karen Fien