Bates Turkey Farm: A tradition at Thanksgiving and year-round

Bates Turkey Farm

Turkeys at the Bates farms are raised as free-range birds, which the family believes produces a higher-quality product. (Michael Cornelison)

Here’s my Alabama Living feature on Greenville, Alabama, mainstay Bates Turkey Farm:

After flying countless bombing missions in Europe during World War II, Bill Bates returned home and declared, “I never plan to stand in another line or ask anyone for a job.” Instead, he had one purpose in mind: To produce the finest turkeys ever to grace a table.

Many Alabamians are familiar with how the turkey farm business was started by Bill’s parents. In 1923, W.C. and Helen Hudson Bates, Bill’s mom and dad, received nine turkey eggs from his Aunt Mamie Bates as a wedding present. In 1935, with the Great Depression taking its toll on small farmers, this small gift became the source that saved the farm as the bank allowed the turkeys to be used as collateral. When Bill returned from the war, his parents needed help with the growing industry. He stayed, and the turkey business has grown significantly from those original eggs.

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Nature’s Beauties: Homeowners can bring butterflies back to gardens

Butterfly on buddleia bush.

Butterfly on buddleia bush.

Here’s an excerpt from my Alabama Living article “Nature’s Beauties” :

Driving down an off-the-beaten path in north Alabama, a driver swerved and stopped immediately in front of me. After hitting my brakes, I realized it was my fault. I should have read her bumper sticker, which stated: I BRAKE FOR BUTTERFLIES.

Ranging in colors from yellow, black, blue, and shades in between, you see them on country roads, in suburban gardens and sunny nature centers. Often, I see them near the small towns of Tuscumbia and Muscle Shoals. Driving on the back roads, butterflies (Lepidoptera) flutter above Queen Anne’s lace, black-eyed Susan and purple coneflowers that grow along the roadside. Regardless of how often they appear, one never tires of their beauty. These marvels of nature fly by day and rest with their wings erect. Continue reading