By Paula Ebben


LANCASTER (CBS) – It’s turkey time and a 60-year-old Massachusetts farm is back in business.

For a while it looked like Bob’s Turkey Farm in Lancaster wouldn’t survive. That’s because of a devastating fire last summer.

But thanks to hard work and a lot of help, the family farm is booming again.

It’s the busiest time of the year at Bob’s, getting about 6,000 turkeys ready for Thanksgiving tables, leaving about 1,000 birds left with a reprieve until Christmas.

“We’ve been buying turkey here forever. We love it,” says Angela Mackie, a longtime customer.

The family-owned farm opened in 1954, and today the refrigerators are stuffed with crates of fresh turkeys, waiting for next week’s rush.

But after last summer’s barn fire, the Thanksgiving season was in serious jeopardy.

“We lost 7,000 birds in the fire, and most of them were Thanksgiving turkey’s,” says Richard Van Hoof, one of the owners.

A fire destroyed a barn at Bob's Turkey Farm in Lancaster (Image from Lancaster PD)

A fire destroyed a barn at Bob’s Turkey Farm in Lancaster (Image from Lancaster PD)

He and his sister Sue Miner run the farm that their father built from scratch. The fire changed everything.

“Oh, it was devastating. We didn’t know what was going to happen,” says Miner.

What happened surprised both of them.

“If our community didn’t surround us and give us the support they did give us, I’m not sure what we would have done,” Miner said.

“A lot of people came to clean up the mess, and some people came to help rebuild,” Van Hoof added.

A bird from Bob's Turkey Farm. (WBZ-TV)

A bird from Bob’s Turkey Farm. (WBZ-TV)

Money was donated and so was equipment.

“A lot of people, you wouldn’t think they’d do that, but they did,” Van Hood said.

You can still see the charred posts of the old barn, but it’s mostly rebuilt and the turkey stock is growing.  That means happy customers.

“It’s honestly the freshest turkey we’ve ever had, so everyone is pleased,” says Carrie Leblanc, who placed her Thanksgiving order today.

Selling 6,000 turkeys sounds like a lot, but usually that number would be 8,000 or 9,000.  So this has been a rebuilding year for the farm, and next year they hope to be back to normal.

Paula Ebben

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