Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How We Got Our Name

A lot of people ask us if there really is a Turkey Mountain. The answer is yes, there are many of them. There is one in Arizona, in the White Mountains, but that isn't our Turkey Mountain. The one from which we got our name is actually in southern Vermont, near the town of Jamaica (yes, there really is a Jamaica, Vermont).

When the Begner family started Turkey Mountain Traders, we were based in Jamaica, Vermont, and the family home was located on Turkey Mountain Road. It was as rural as it sounds--the driveway to the house was over a third of a mile long, and so steep that on snowy days or nights anyone stuck at the bottom without a good 4WD had a long, cold uphill hike ahead of them. And since this was in the days before cell phones, the only option was turning around and finding the nearest neighbor, half a mile away. Not such a good place to be in bad weather, but the views were fantastic.

The obvious next questions is whether there were turkeys on Turkey Mountain, and the answer is that there were lots of them. We had a flock that would come running down the hillside to eat the apples off our little apple tree in the back yard; first would come the male tom turkey leading the way, followed by the younger ones and the babies, with the females in the rear. Seeing the males up in the tree knocking off apples for the others was quite a sight, and during the summer and fall it would happen as often as the apple supply would allow. But one question we could never answer was howmany turkeys were in our little flock, because one week we would see twelve and another week there would be fifteen, and then back to twelve. We had no idea what happened to the other three, or why they didn't show up with their family and friends.

Then, one day, we heard an incredible racket out by the apple tree and found the turkeys gathered in their usual place--but there were not twelve, or fifteen. This time, there were TWENTY-SEVEN. And the two alpha tom turkeys were up in the tree, with a battle royale raging for apple dominance. Feathers were flying everywhere, and the little ones were getting in on the action. Mystery solved: Turkey Mountain was even more of a turkey haven than we had thought. We never found out who won, or what the long-term ramifications of the Battle of the Apple Tree really were, because we moved to Arizona soon afterwards and took the name with us, but not the turkeys.

Thankfully, while Steve was in the White Mountains last month with his wife Diana and son Evan, he saw a flock of wild turkeys crossing the road. It is comforting to know that Turkey Mountain Traders is still not far from our big feathered friends.