Though pardoning a turkey didn't become an official ceremony until the presidency of George H. W. Bush, presidents have been receiving Thanksgiving turkeys since the 1870s.
Regardless of when the tradition officially started, turkeys have been part of the White House's Thanksgiving festivities for many years.
But this year, the turkeys being pardoned by President Trump came from one of our customer barns: Riverside Colony, out of Huron, South Dakota.
Peas and Carrots: The Presidential Turkeys
Each year, two birds are selected to be presented to the President for pardoning. Only one is selected as the official Thanksgiving turkey, but both will be free to live out the rest of their days in peace at Gobbler's Rest in Virginia.
This year's birds—Peas and Carrots—were raised by Riverside's turkey manager, Ruben Waldner, in a flock of 50 "presidential birds." The pair were hatched on June 28, and quickly stood out from the rest of the flock.
The turkeys were raised in special conditions, preparing them for their moment of fame. They drank bottled water and received special feed and vitamins.
Peas weighs 39 pounds, with a wingspan of 36" and a height of 30". Carrots clocks in at 41 pounds, with a wingspan of 36" and a height of 32".
Turkeys are selected based on physical characteristics, as well as personality and their interactions with people.
Before Peas and Carrots met the President, they were treated to an evening of luxury at five-star hotel, the Willard InterContinental, just a block from the White House. The birds had their own room, adjoining Waldner.
When it came time for the pardoning ceremony, President Trump had a difficult decision to make. Though both birds were impressive, the President ultimately chose Peas as 2018's official Thanksgiving Turkey.
Watch representatives from Riverside Colony present President Trump with the turkeys for presidential pardon. We're proud to call them a New Standard customer!
Here at New Standard, we'd like to wish you and your families a very Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your time with loved ones and good food; celebrate all there is to be grateful for.
Interested in learning more about our work with poultry producers? Check out this piece on the importance of tunnel ventilation in your poultry barn.