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So Thankful

November 27, 2013
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That we didn’t have to butcher turkeys for Thanksgiving…we sold our last commercial turkey in aught eight.  We have been getting steady phone calls since just before Halloween clear up until today.

“Yes, I need a turkey for Thanksgiving, can you call me and give me a price and let me know how they will weigh?”

Umm, no, we now just change the message on the recorder.

“We no longer sell turkeys, please remove our number from your notes…”

Or something like that.  I make my husband do it, people believe a man’s voice more often than not.

It was always too cold, come late November, one year we had a foot of snow, terrible.  I always felt sorry for those poor turkeys, it was cold and the bobcats were hungry.  And I felt sorry for poor us, when the only way to warm up is to stick your hand in a dead bird.  We were always too tired to enjoy our own fresh turkey.  Frozen turkey for Thanksgiving that was butchered when the grass is still good is probably a more nutrient dense food anyway.  So if you’re enjoying a fresh turkey tomorrow from a small farm, thank your farmer – they really deserve it.  And next year try to get them to change their schedule and butcher a littler earlier.  Just sayin.

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19 Comments leave one →
  1. November 27, 2013 8:58 pm

    Hoo – so been there done that with the turkeys – thanksgiving and Christmas…..don’t miss it one bit. My favorite (not) “oh we want to pick it up fresh the day before – ” Sure lady – that’s what I want to do Christmas Eve – pack a thirty pound turkey down the driveway and pitch it in the trunk of your car – then have you give me a check for it. 😬

  2. November 27, 2013 9:44 pm

    You’re on the same page as Joel Salatin with this – he just posted a message today that basically said they sell only frozen turkeys at this time of year because a) the birds are not super happy with the weather come mid November, and the farmers aren’t super excited about processing a few hundred birds in their open air processing area in mid-November. Another reason it’s good to be Canadian – we do Thanksgiving in October :).

    • November 28, 2013 6:46 am

      It’s been 5 years and I haven’t missed that fall chore a bit. I can’t believe we are still getting calls. Especially since we would have had to ordered those turkeys way back in about March to be able to get the hatchery date we wanted.

  3. November 28, 2013 1:03 am

    Seems to me we ought to move the holidays altogether. Avoid some of the travel problems while we’re at it. But I totally agree about the turkeys, too!

    • November 28, 2013 6:44 am

      Yes, or skip some of them altogether – now most holidays are used for as marketing ploy for buying more stuff.

      • November 28, 2013 5:01 pm

        I’d definitely support that, but the only way it could happen is if more folks drop the consumer mindset.

  4. November 28, 2013 5:16 am

    All the years we raised turkeys we processed in September – so they could be smoked – which is popular in this area. And the ‘fresh’ turkeys in the market are labeled ‘ fresh – previously frozen – thawed for your convience;-)’ Have a great Thanksgiving – we’re eating beef!

    • November 28, 2013 6:43 am

      We’re eating ham, and we did our turkeys in October and did fresh for a couple of restaurant accounts :( Restaurants cater (pun intended) to a certain clientele…don’t even get me started about restaurants that advertise sustainable, seasonal,…, and then demand a year round supply.

  5. November 28, 2013 11:21 am

    Happy Thanksgiving to you! And I agree about the turkeys. Also: why do we absolutely have to have turkey anyway? I’d much rather have a tastier (read: fattier) main dish ;)

  6. Jennifer permalink
    November 28, 2013 11:31 am

    We did a store bought turkey early on Monday as husband was going to be gone for Thanksgiving. I think it’s my last turkey. After eating, we all decided our own chickens were SO much better than that turkey that I’m done with them. I have an 8+ lb chicken in the freezer that I processed in October that would have done the job better.

  7. November 28, 2013 12:17 pm

    We raised turkeys for the first time this year – just four – and are eating one of them that was butchered about two weeks ago – by a professional, thank you very much. Most people I know say pastured poultry is improved by freezing, anyway. It’s been in the oven since seven o clock and it SMELLS fantastic!

  8. Bee permalink
    November 29, 2013 5:38 am

    We had a wild turkey, nice and fat from all the grain it’s been picking out of the cows’ hay, plus assorted acorns and such. Aged three days in the refrigerator, since it’s not reliably cold during the day, and then brined for 24 hours. Although we still had to pick and gut it, the four-day interval between that process and the actual day worked out quite nicely. This is the first time I’ve aged a bird, but it’s going to become part of my repertoire from now on.

    • November 29, 2013 6:48 am

      Bee, that sounds delicious!

      The main restaurant we sold to wanted their turkeys butchered on the Saturday with Sunday delivery, then they “worked” on them all week, aging, parting out, brining etc. Our personal joke was we couldn’t afford to go that restaurant to eat that meal, they charged so much.

      You’re making me wish we had wild turkeys here – sounds like he was well fed :)

      • Bee permalink
        November 29, 2013 1:35 pm

        Yes, paying for the labor runs up the costs. Wish I could get paid for the labor around here, I’d be a millionaire! Eldest granddaughter has her sights set on getting a Christmas goose, since the Canadas also share in the grain hay; we plan to treat it the same way.

  9. Elizabeth permalink
    December 4, 2013 3:16 pm

    Matron~
    Of all the animals/ veggies/ food you have raised and sold over the years, which would you say is the most profitable for your family?
    Elizabeth

    • December 4, 2013 3:42 pm

      Beef, or milk when I used to sell raw milk.

      • Elizabeth permalink
        December 5, 2013 5:54 am

        Hmmm. Interesting. Did you have more than one cow?
        (Guernsey, I’m sure :) ) Why don’t you guys sell milk anymore?

        • December 5, 2013 6:07 am

          I used to milk two (Guernseys). I love my farm too much, the liability is high, and a lot of the folks seeking out raw milk these days are already immune compromised…I’ll let someone else fight that battle or provide “healing” milk, the litigious climate was a little different 25 years ago…

          Raw milk is a pretty heated subject, and lots of folks like the cash cow aspect, around here $12.00 a gallon is the starting rate and people drive miles to get it, but even at that high of a price, shit canning the calves so you can sell all the milk, it still isn’t worth it if one person gets sick. You could never have enough insurance to really pay for that, and you also have no guarantee how that milk is handled once it leaves your hands. It’s sad really, if people would really take all the risks and not expect someone to bail them out, then yeah maybe raw milk would be worth it. Otherwise, it’s not for me anyway.

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