Mayor Myrick spared a turkey today at the Ithaca Farmers Market's Thanksgiving market

November 22, 2015 by Rachel Cera

The Ithaca Farmers Market had its annual Thanksgiving Market this year, as folks came to stock up on local squash, vegetables, and meats for their holiday table, and Mayor Svante Myrick joined in the festivities to ceremonially pardon a local turkey.

Mayor Myrick and "Lucky," from Just a Few Acres Farm. Photo courtesy of Millicent Kastenbaum.Mayor Myrick and "Lucky," from Just a Few Acres Farm. Photo courtesy of Millicent Kastenbaum.Mayor Myrick pardoned a turkey named Lucky that was provided by Just a Few Acres Farm, a family farm that's been operated for seven generations ever since it was deeded as a Revolutionary War plot. Owners Pete and Hilarie Larson, who sell their eggs, pastured pork, and turkey and chickens at the Ithaca Farmers Market each Saturday and Sunday, say "It seemed like a good idea to generate buzz within the community to buy locally grown food for Thanksgiving." They credit IFM market manager Aaron Munzer for the original idea.

We asked the Larsons how they picked Lucky for today's honor, and they say "We caught our last group of turkeys to process last Thursday, and she was the nicest looking one of the bunch." Lucky is going to get to spend the winter "in the winter house with the laying hens," they tell us.

Turkey pardoning has a long history that has its origins with the annual tradition of farms presenting a turkey to the President of the United States each fall, beginning with President Harry S. Truman. Presidents Truman and Eisenhower are known to have eaten at least some of the birds, but President John F. Kennedy "spontaneously spared a turkey" just four days before he was assassinated. According to Wikipedia, "Kennedy returned the massive 55-pound turkey to the farm, saying 'we'll let this one grow.'" Presidents since Ronald Reagan have tended to officially pardon their turkeys rather than eat them.

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