In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Todd Hickey, general manager of the Marriott at Sawgrass, will officially pardon a turkey that lives on the property at Bee Hill farm. The culinary staff at Sawgrass not only prepares food for guests, but also raises items for the plates. A bevvy of quail provides eggs for several dishes when it’s laying season.
Last year, a company that supplies seed for the quail and chickens gifted two ringneck pheasant chicks to the property. As the pair grew, they no longer resembled one another. Finally, it was determined that one of the “pheasants” was, in fact, a turkey. The female bird is affectionately referred to as Tata the Phurkey, combining pheasant and turkey.
“She’s like a dog,” Executive Chef Joe Natoli said. “She comes right up and follows you around.”
Tata shares a large pen with several quail and the lone pheasant. Nearly 3 feet tall, the bronze breasted turkey watches over the smaller birds. A separate pen is designed to protect chickens from hawks, raccoons and other predators.
Master Beekeeper Matt Sanchez oversees the farm, and members of the culinary team pitch in to clear land, build pens and grow herbs, fruits and vegetables.
During the Wednesday, Nov. 27 ceremony, Hickey will declare in a prepared speech, “So today we will be pardoning Tata and letting her live out her life on Bee Hill, the micro-farm at The Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa.”