The first time you see it, it’s shocking. Brightly colored pink, purple, yellow, orange and blue turkeys strutting around in a pen is not the norm but in Guilford, CT it is a welcome annual sight. For decades Gozzi’s Turkey Farm has been putting the neon colored turkeys out front which draws busloads of school kids and curious onlookers. The idea was the brainchild of Bill Gozzi’s mom. Despite a few raised eyebrows from the family, she thought kids, and people at large, would get a kick out of seeing Easter-egg colored turkeys. She thought right because they have continued the tradition- what Bill deems the best marketing ploy in their history- for ages.
For most of us, planning for Thanksgiving is elaborate and time consuming but for the Gozzi family of Guilford, Connecticut preparing 8,000 turkeys brings the feat to an entirely different level. Grown, as always, without chemicals or growth hormones, the Gozzi’s developed the Guilford Gozzi White Turkey. For seventy years the Gozzi’s have been raising turkeys selling – in their hay day – as many as 150,000. The advent of large commercial turkey farms such as Butterball, Purdue and Shady Brook Farms, left the Gozzi Turkey Farm struggling to compete. Bill and Bob Gozzi, sons of founder William Gozzi, have held onto the tradition of small, independent turkey farming and sell farm fresh, locally raised turkeys to about 8000 customers a year many of whom have been buying their moist, plump, meaty turkeys from the Gozzi family for generations.
So take a drive up route 95 to exit 57, head north on route 1 for about a mile. Take a gander at the unusually festive turkey troops that have become an iconic roadside attraction. The turkeys will be strutting their stuff on rain-free days from about 8 a.m. until dusk daily until Christmas. Free.