Customers flock to Needham farm for turkeys

Needham, MA 11-27-13 - Customers in the rain and wind stand in line to pick up their turkeys and other items outside of Owen's Poultry Farm on Central Ave. in Needham. (Bill Greene / Globe staff) section: metro
People braved the elements today to wait for their turkeys at Owen's Poultry Farm in Needham.
Bill Greene/Globe Staff

Twenty brave souls waited outside Owen’s Poultry Farm in Needham in the harsh winds and rain this morning. On Tuesday, there were 200.

Owen’s has been selling specialty turkeys since Don Owen’s grandfather opened the farm in 1935. The birds are raised in New England and killed fresh just for the holiday, Owen said.

“You have to have a turkey on the table for Thanksgiving,” he said, noting that this is the farm’s busiest time of year.

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The turkeys the farm sells cost buyers $4 per pound compared to $1 per pound at the grocery store. But Owen said there is no comparison in the quality of the two birds.

“It’s a totally different kind of bird,” Owen said during a telephone interview, as bustling and commotion could be heard in the background.

Members from every generation of the Owen family take off work for the Thanksgiving week to serve the crowds lining up outside the farm. Each year, the farm sells about 3,500 turkeys, Owen said.

“This is fun,” said Owen, 52, who grew up on the farm and now lives in Norfolk. “This is what we grew up with.”

Many of the customers are people who grew up in the area and come back for that one-of-a-kind turkey. Owen said some of his birds travel to Connecticut or New York.

Most of the farm’s customers waited in line Tuesday to avoid today’s inclement weather, Owen said. The farm was open for 13 hours Tuesday. Owen and staff are hoping today’s crowds are smaller to give them all a bit of a break.

“Everyone wants to wait till the last day,” he said.

On Thursday, Owen will celebrate Thanksgiving with family, and of course, with a turkey on the table.