Mastering Turkey Massages With Gentile Acres

Carol Gentile of Gentile Acres tells us how the COVID-19 pandemic prompted her family to start on a path towards turkeys and self-sufficiency.

by Phillip Mlynar
PHOTO: Gentile Acres

In February of 2020, Carol and Anthony Gentile of Tennessee’s Gentile Acres visited a local supermarket and gaped at the empty produce shelves they saw. “I recall seeing an elderly man sadly picking through the few potatoes that were left. And I remember thinking, wow, we are so reliant on what others produce for us!” says Carol.

Picking up on the food shortages and supply chain issues that the start of the COVID-19 pandemic heralded, the Gentiles decided to embrace the idea of self-sufficiency.

“We made the decision to sacrifice our mundane and stressful routine of work and paying bills and a rather unfulfilled life in exchange for big pay checks to a slower pace and a more modest lifestyle and a much happier and fulfilled life,” explains Carol of the decision to found Gentile Acres. “Our hearts are full!”

We spoke to Carol Gentile about focusing a homestead around turkeys and adding artichokes to your garden. We also got insider tips on the art of the turkey massage.

Happiness Is Being Surrounded by Turkeys


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A post shared by Anthony & Carol (@gentileacres)

“Life hack: For true happiness, get a turkey!” says Gentile.

Forming a key part of Gentile Acres, the resident turkeys enjoy free run of the homestead’s 25 acres of land. “They enjoy eating all the bugs and fresh raspberries that grow on the property,” says Gentile.

“We go for daily walks with our birds. This was when we learned our turkeys were a lot like our dogs! They would follow us everywhere. We have special whistles for them to come for treats.”

Read more: Considering raising turkeys? Here’s how to get started!

Coming to Grips with Turkey Massages

Noticing that some of their turkeys possessed more affection than others, Gentile says she started to grant them turkey massages.

“They’ve learned to come to our feet and open their wings for some quick loving,” she says before adding a disclaimer: “Just be careful putting your face close to turkeys. No matter how loving they can be, they are known to strike at the eyes. We call them sour patch kids!”

Turkey Massage Pro Tips

“The best way to give a turkey massage is scratching and massaging right under their wings, back and thighs,” explains Gentile. “The closer you get to their back end, the more they will love you. Don’t be afraid to get a little rough. Some like it rough!”

Just know that turkey massages can grow addictive. “Once you start turkey massages you can never stop!” says Gentile. “They will follow you around and spread their wings squawking at you until you oblige.”

Read more: Mix up the poultry in your flock!

Adding Artichokes to Your Garden

If you take a look through Gentile Acres’s Instagram account, you’ll notice some particularly striking artichokes starring in the feed.

“Artichokes were once thought to be in the cactus family because of their beautiful flowers. But they’re actually a part of the thistle family,” says Gentile. “They are pretty much a no-to-minimal maintenance plant.”

When it comes to maximizing artichoke production, Gentile suggests giving them plenty of space to grow and also starting seeds off with a few cold nights for germination.

“They are so beautiful,” she adds. “I would purposely let some go to flower just to admire their beauty. They are large purple thistle-like flowers—garden magic at its finest!”

Growing into the Farming Life

“I never imagined myself—a city girl—to be cleaning chicken poop, playing in the dirt, ethically raising and harvesting our own meat, seed saving, canning and preserving, making our own soaps, farming and becoming more and more self reliant,” reflects Gentile as she looks back at the Gentile Acres journey so far.

“The relationship we share with our animals and the fruits and vegetables we grow is a truly intimate and rewarding experience,” she continues. “This is real life. This is what it means to be alive, to be connected to the earth and to the animals through love and respect. It is life … liberty. And this is happiness.”

Follow Gentile Acres at Instagram.

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