Winter's Turkeys

Winter's is Coming: Meet the Family Behind our Alberta Raised Turkeys

By Amanda Philipow

Published October 2022

For many families in Calgary and surrounding towns in Alberta, picking up a fresh Winter’s turkey has been a longstanding Thanksgiving tradition. And with an unwavering reputation for quality, it’s no surprise that many of Winter’s current customers come by referral from generations of family members before them. This deep-rooted commitment to family and passion for providing only the best products make Winter’s turkeys the perfect match for Sunterra customers who share these same values — especially around the holiday season. We had the privilege of sitting down with Winter’s third generation owners, Laurel and Lyle Weigum, to explore the rich history of these terrific turkeys. 

We pull up to the Winter’s property just 30 minutes outside of Calgary and are immediately greeted by a friendly dog (whom we later learn is named Pearl); things are off to a great start. If there’s one word to describe the initial feel of the farm, it’s peaceful. Laurel and her husband, Lyle, greet us at the entrance, and with shoe covers equipped, we start our walk through the lush farmland. We soon reach a long barn full of fluffy, bright white turkeys poking their heads up over the gate. Laurel gestures to the barn and tells us that these are the exact turkeys Sunterra customers will be receiving for Thanksgiving. 

The Winter’s story begins back in the 50’s when Laurel’s grandfather and the company’s namesake, Jack Winter — lovingly referred to as “Grandpa Jack” — saw the potential for turkeys to thrive among his lineup of other livestock, grain and eggs. He began selling turkeys to friends, neighbours and small shops in the community, and soon people were regularly seeking them out for their Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts.

In 1976, Laurel’s parents, Darrel and Corinne, returned to the homestead and expanded the farming operations under the Winter’s name we know today. 

“From there, word kind of spread,” explains Laurel. “My dad would take a truckload of turkeys into the city and friends from all over would come and grab a turkey from the truck.” 

The family gradually took on more retail outlets and increased production accordingly, but never stopped fostering those community connections made through direct in-person sales around the holidays — even to this day. Laurel recalls growing up on the farm and watching bigger barns being built to meet the demand for a local, fresh turkey. After both pursuing careers in teaching, Laurel returned full-time to the farm in 2015 and Lyle followed a few years later.

“Being part of that very intimate family tradition is very fulfilling,” Laurel beams.

Winter’s raises two flocks of turkeys per year, one for each major holiday. The birds are raised on the family farm for four months, sent to Taber for processing and then returned in their signature Winter’s branded bag, ready for distribution. The whole process takes only a couple days, meaning customers receive an incredibly fresh product that outmatches any turkey you’ll find in your local grocery store’s freezer section.

But it isn’t the quick turnaround or the location alone that makes Winter’s turkeys so exceptional, it’s how they’re raised. 

“The care and health of the bird is our primary goal,” Lyle says proudly. Winter’s Turkeys’ are free range, meaning they have constant access to large yards, forage and sunlight.  

“They run and peck at bugs and grass, and that’s a grand time for them,” Lyle smiles. “I can see how happy they are and that we’re doing the best we can for our birds.”  

Fresh air, extra exercise and fostering the turkeys’ natural growth cycle results in a high-quality product for consumers. The turkeys are fed a diet of wheat which the family grows in a field just North of their primary farmland. Their whole grain diet along with free and unfettered access to the outdoors leads to healthy, happy birds that develop a beautiful coat of white feathers, as well as gain weight at a healthy rate. The birds are also regularly provided with clean bedding and unlimited access to fresh water. 

Alberta’s cool fall nights and cold winter days encourage the turkeys to grow a layer of fat under their skin which renders during the cooking process to create juicy, tender meat. The rendered fat makes such a difference that Winter’s proudly describes their turkeys as “self-basting”, eliminating the need for added moisture when roasting. Lyle also offered us a cooking tip: take the turkey out of the oven before it reaches 165F internally and let it rest while tented. The meat will continue to cook in the residual heat, and you’ll get a fully cooked turkey without drying it out.

Our visit was coming to a close, but with a family history so focused on turkeys, we had to ask what a typical Thanksgiving for the Winter/Weigum household looks like. 

“Mom will cook and dad will carve, but not without a lot of questions,” Laurel laughs. 

“And jokes,” Lyle adds with a grin. 

The two explain that though the holiday season is their busiest time of year, they always make time to spend those special days with their families, especially since they all live so close together. Being involved in the community they serve is also a huge part of their traditions. 

“If someone has a question [about their turkey], we’d be happy if they want to call and talk to us,” says Lyle. “Our number is on the bag.”

Start your own family tradition — order your fresh Winter’s turkey in-market or online at  
Signature Sunterra
Three-Course Feasts


Let us make tonight easy!
Cooking Classes
Fresh Rewards
Feature Stories


We are farmers, butchers, chefs, bakers and baristas. But above all else, we are passionate food experts.

Learn more


We value our Team Members as much as our loyal customers, and we want you to be part of our amazing team.

Come see what it’s like to work with us


Sign up for our biweekly newsletter to keep up-to-date on new products, find new recipes and learn what items Fresh Rewards members can get for free.

Sign up


The Sunterra ROOTS program defines our behaviour and commitment to the community. We believe in reciprocity, opportunity, openness, trust and service.

Learn more
MARKETbar by Sunterra

MARKETbar by Sunterra

Located on the third floor of Sunterra Market Keynote, MARKETbar offers fresh, casual food in a beautiful modern setting with great views of the city.

Take a look inside