Family-Owned Farm In Gilchrist County Selling Free-Range Turkeys For Thanksgiving

Dorothea Burnham admires the turkeys and recalls her time growing up on a farm in Alabama. (Amanda Roland/WUFT News)

A family-owned farm in Trenton sells humanely farmed turkeys – and Robin Popp claims her birds are “happy” as a result.

Laughing Chicken Farms, located at 2397 SE 37th Ave. in Trenton, prides itself on raising chickens and turkeys in open fields, said Popp, co-owner of the farm.

Robin and her husband, Bill, offer the same white turkeys that their commercial competitors grow. The difference is that they are raised cage-free without hormones or antibiotics, she said.

“They are out walking around in the grass, there’s no cage,” Robin said. “So they’re pretty happy.”

The farm sells turkeys year-round, but the Popp family has seen an increase in turkey sales around the holidays, and have sold more than 75 since the start October. 

People can order their birds in advance by phone within a specific weight. Their farm will prepare the order, put it on ice and have it ready for pickup for the next day. 

Co-owner Robin Popp looks over her order log in her work studio to make sure she gives each customer the correct order on Tuesday, November 20. (Amanda Roland/WUFT News)

“We just call in and tell them we want one, and they put us on the books,” local buyer Kirk Moss said. “We come out and visit for a little bit and pick up our bird and take it home and wrestle it in the oven.”

Moss has purchased his turkeys from Laughing Chicken Farms for several years and said the product never disappoints.

“We like buying local,” Moss said. “We think its very important to support your local community instead of a corporation that really doesn’t care about their product or the people that they are selling to.”

Ten years ago, Popp and her husband moved to Trenton from Clearwater, and what started as a small hobby has turned into a labor of love for the Popps.

Dorothea Burnham, 82, grew up on a little farm in Alabama, and she comes out to Laughing Chicken Farms to support “humanely and delightfully raised animals.”

“When I found out about animal factory farming, I cried for hours,” Burnham said, “and I kept asking myself, ‘how could anybody be mean to chickens?’”

Robin and her husband invite buyers to come out and see their farm so that customers can see the kind of people they are buying from. 

“The thing about raising things on grass and buying from a local farmer is that you know how they’ve been treated. You can go see how their living conditions are,” Robin said.  “You can see, just you know.”

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