The Modesto Foster Farms location proudly displays a presidential seal. Inside there’s a very special bird that’s been primed for the highest honor a turkey can get at the White House.
Friday FOX40 met “Tom 1” and his alternate “Tom 2.” They’re the top choices for the presidential pardon.
Joe Hedden is Foster Farms’ growout manager and presidential turkey handler. Monday he will fly to Washington DC with the turkeys on a plane dubbed “Turkey One.”
“I hope to meet the president, but I’ll be standing next to Tom 1 so we’ll see!” Hedden said.
This year, the farm was pre-selected to breed the pardoned turkey. Out of a flock of 50, the top two were picked Thursday.
Ultimately, Tom 1 and Tom 2 were chosen for their feathers, poise and personality.
“Tom 1 just seemed to have more of a personality — he wanted to show off more. He reacted to the audience. He was talking back and forth with them so he was more engaged in the process and he was very well mannered,” Hedden said.
What may seem like a light-hearted tradition is actually a big honor for this Modesto Foster Farms Farm.
“As a career poultry farmer to be able to take something that you’ve worked your life long blood through and then to present the product that you’ve produced to the president of the united states its an honor and its a tradition in our industry which is another honor,” Hedden said.
After the pardon, both turkeys will enjoy the rest of their lives on a farm in Virginia.