an alabama thansgiving tradition lives on at bates turkey farm. picture shows many turkeys. under picture it says, each year, bates turkey farm in logan, ala., raises about 50,000 turkeys that are served at bates house of turkey in greenville and shipped all over the united states. (emmett burnett)

by bob carlton the pecan orchard where thousands of turkeys freely roamed just a couple of weeks ago is kind of quiet now, empty except for a few lonesome birds. inside the cluttered offices at bates turkey farm in rural lowndes county, though, it's as busy as the post office the week before christmas. "hello, bates turkey farm," becky bates sloane says as she answers the phone. "yes ma'am...ok, can you hold on a second?" sloane, who has a visitor, hollers to someone in the adjoining room: "you want to take this order?" the latest flock of about 4,000 turkeys arrived here as day-old poults from a hatchery in ohio about four months ago, and they'll leave here in styrofoam ice chests, destined for thanksgiving dinner tables from the carolinas to california. "we ship a lot to california," sloane says. "we've had regular customers in california for 25, 30 years. and we ship a lot up the east coast and to georgia, tennessee, louisiana, texas. pretty much everywhere."