Monthly archives "November 2012"

turkey days

This past weekend was our 4th Annual Turkey Harvesting for Thanksgiving. We raise gorgeous turkeys every year for this special holiday. Harvesting our turkeys on the farm by hand is intense, but this way we get to control every aspect of our birds from day 1, until they leave with a customer, in a cooler on ice.

day 1 and they were already sampling greens!

6 months and 20 lbs later...

The night before each harvest day, some of the turkeys were brought out of their paddock into a holding area for their over night fast, which empties their systems and makes processing cleaner. Early in the morning, we got the scalder heating over a wood fire, and prepared the stations for plucking and eviscerating. Our customers come to help with the processing, and take home their fresh Thanksgiving turkeys. We are elated to be know such wonderful folks who can look at a bird and know this is where their meat actually comes from.

All of our turkeys sold out early this year, which is wonderful, except for having to turn a few people down. Next year we will be offering heritage Bourbon Reds as well as our succulent Broad Breasted Turkeys. They will be raised the same way- on pasture, living a free and good life, eating organic grains, foraging and exercising, but still supervised, protected and cared for.

Did you know that most turkeys in the store are 12-16 weeks old when they are harvested? Our turkeys are 24 weeks old when we harvest them, that’s 6 whole months. At this age, they get to actually mature and develop a nice layer of fat which has a self-basting effect. Don’t be afraid of good fats from healthy, pastured animals! Maturity in our turkeys also means they actually taste like TURKEY. If you’ve only had grocery store birds, an LTD Turkey will blow you away with tenderness and flavor. A pastured turkey living outdoors 24/7 is healthier too, and you are what you eat. We all know the wonders of a little fresh air & sunshine in our lives, so why not expect that for the animal you eat as well?

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!   ( Yes, we are beginning to reserve turkeys for next year. Email us to get on the list!  farmers AT LTDfarm DOT com)

 

A couple of technical notes on turkey harvesting :

We changed two major things this year in our harvest techniques. We switched from using a knife to cut the jugular vein, to a single shot from a tiny 22 bullet, and THEN we bleed the turkey out. The bullet ensures no suffering to the bird, and instant death without fear. Everyone comments on how calm the birds are. We still contain the bird before the shot, as their sheer muscle reaction is dangerously powerful. We use a solid wood box with a hole in one side, a lever to hold the bird’s neck in place, and cushions around the bird to hold it’s body through the death throes. We don’t want to use “killing cones” because we feel the turkeys will be frightened if we suspend them upside down (to place them in the cones) while they are still alive.

The other thing we changed is that we are now “TAA- DAAH” scalding our turkeys, instead of dry-plucking. Dry plucking is nice if you want to spend an hour per bird, pulling feathers out by hand, but scalding is wonderful if you want to save your wrists from repetitive stress syndrome! These two changes have significantly improved our scenario on harvesting days. If you have any questions about these processes, let us know. The more turkeys being peacefully harvested in the world, the better.

 

november—WOW!

Can it be truely November already!? Things have been bustling, and  time flies when you’re wrapping up one year, while eyeball deep in planning the next. It’s kind of hard to wait through this period of fall, where winter is just drooling at the thought of taking over. Everything is brown and dry, but there is still plenty of beauty everywhere. Most of the garden has been snuggled in for winter. But we’ve got a few loose ends to tie up out there, and there are a bunch of carrots to harvest for our winter shares…frost-sweet carrots have got to be the best vegetable treat of the year. (Details coming soon on the winter shares!)Our far-off field garden did much better this year, after lots of our compost and mulch went into the soil, but we are still trying to decide it’s fate. It’s just too far away from our home base to tend to regularly. Even with a massive layer of straw mulch in the spring, the potato vines were basically invisible in the waist high weeds. We did find quite a few beauties out there, which we sent out in our CSA boxes, but had hoped for a 100 lbs for our own use, which we did not get. As you can see in the photo, we dug and dug and searched and searched for every last one, they are so precious to us! Start the year with visions of a thousand pounds of potatoes, and end with a small box full…. Don’t count your potatoes before you get the harvest in.Our turkeys are doing awesome, and have lived a wonderful life here in their pasture. We’ll be harvesting them the weekend before Thanksgiving. We are just about sold out, with 5 left for sale. Let us know ASAP if you want to reserve one! Here’s our 2013 turkey poppa, he’s a heritage Bourbon Red, and we’re excited to try our hand at hatching out our own turkey babies here!We’re ready for a winter of deliciousness. The pantry and cellar shelves are full of food canned in glass jars, the chest freezer packed with our home butchered pork and this season’s surplus veggies. We’ve got dried beans to shell during the wintertime, and homebrew bubbling in the carboys. Our woodstove will be heating the house, and we’ve put up a good amount of wood at this point, thanks to Andrew’s folks for letting us come to take their downed trees, as well as lending their log splitter. A new winter squash discovery- Moroccan Style! This is a very easy, warming and nourishing food. Take 2 cups of basmati rice and 2 cups pureed tomatoes and put together into a casserole dish. Chop up a couple small peppers, an onion and a head of garlic, sprinkle on top. Layer on some cooked garbonzo beans (1 can/2 cups or so, ) and an equal amount of diced raw squash. Then sprinkle on a bit of dried ginger, cinnamon, brown mustard seeds, salt and pepper. Pour another 16oz of canned tomatoes on top, then drizzle the whole dish with olive oil. Bake uncovered at 350 for about an hour, until the rice has absorbed all the liquid, but before it dries out on top. Simply delicious, and even if you think you don’t like winter squash, this will change your mind!Winter is a great time to start cooking up batches of dried beans, who needs expensive canned ones? Make sure to soak garbonzos for 2 days ahead of time, draining and rinsing several times while they soak, and then simmer with fresh water until tender. Do a big batch so you can freeze leftovers in recipe sized portions for your replacement to canned beans! Nothing is better than homemade hummus too!It’s a hard way to make a living, but we so enjoy this lifestyle. Raising good food for wonderful people is an honor. There are many things that are idealized about farmsteading, and we hope that we bring you some of the reality of what it is like here. You can find joy anywhere you are, and we encourage you to follow your bliss in this precious life.