U.K.-based Kelly Turkeys has plans to build its first turkey processing plant in the United States. The new facility will be located in Albemarle County, Virginia.
The new turkey processing facility will require a $1.4 million investment and is expected to process 10,000 turkeys annually. About 33 new jobs in the region will be created to staff the plant.
Kelly Turkeys initially announced its expansion into the United States in August 2014, when the company revealed that it had purchased a 106-acre farm in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia to raise free-range turkeys.
Company spokesman Paul Kelly said at the time the company hopes to create a niche market in the United States, where the market is dominated by frozen turkeys. Kelly said he was confident that his company’s turkeys could compete, comparing the high-end turkeys to a fine wine for which U.S. consumers are willing to pay a premium.
The KellyBronze, the company’s trendsetting traditional bronze turkey in the U.K., has already been successfully test marketed in Virginia.
The expansion into the U.S. will also help the company tap into the Thanksgiving turkey market, as the holiday is not observed in the U.K.