Representatives of the National Turkey Federation (NTF) introduced the 2021 National Thanksgiving Turkey and alternate, Peanut Butter and Jelly, to members of the press and public in Washington, D.C. on November 18.

Peanut Butter and Jelly were raised by Indiana turkey grower Andrea Welp under the supervision of NTF chairman Phil Seger. Seger serves as Vice President of Live Turkey Operations for Farbest Farms, Inc. headquartered in Jasper, Indiana. 

“Raising the presidential turkey flock has really been a lot of fun this year. As we all know with another year of uncertainties with a pandemic, this project has really been something to look forward to and a joy to be able to participate in,” Welp said, adding that her kids helped by dancing to loud music to get Peanut Butter and Jelly ready for the media attention.

President Joe Biden will pardon Peanut Butter and Jelly later this week. Afterwards, the turkeys will reside on the campus of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, following their time in Washington, D.C.

“This is an amazing chance for us the increase knowledge and awareness of these wonderful animals, their behavior, their care and their well-being and to educate the public and our students as well. We also consider this an important opportunity for our students who are excited to participate in the care of these turkeys,” explained Dr. Marisa Erasmus at Purdue University.

The event where the turkeys were introduced was webcast from the Willard InterContinental through a livestream on YouTube.

A longstanding tradition

When I first learned that I would be covering the welcoming of the presidential turkeys, I joked that I was going to write dating profiles for the two toms. You know, Peanut Butter enjoys long walks on the beach, meanwhile Jelly enjoys dreaming of large women.

The truth is that the pardoned turkeys is an important and longstanding American Thanksgiving tradition dating back to 1947 with President Harry Truman.

The tradition also highlights the important role turkey farmers play in holiday celebrations. I know that I, for one, am looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving with family this year following the socially distanced holidays last year with COVID-19.