Thursday, January 3, 2013

Heirloom Turkeys in the New Year

The new year stretches ahead of us. 

This is the path worn through the snow by our cows. They use it to retreat from the wind once they've eaten their fill. It stretches to the very top of the hill where the forest beyond the fence cups the pasture at its side and blocks the brunt of the weather. I marvel at them every time I'm within view when they descend to the feeder. They follow each other tightly in single file along the ridge of the hill. We have nearly two feet of snow now, and cows know to conserve what energy they can through minimizing their efforts. We're doing the same - carving only necessary paths, going no further than we need to, and casting our minds forward as we sit comfortably indoors.

Among our many ambitions for the coming year, raising heritage turkeys is high on the list. We haven't decided firmly on a breed yet, but we intend to raise an heirloom bird on pasture, one that might actually fly away from us if it cared to. Initially, we thought of raising a set number of birds and randomly offering a few of them for sale when the time came to the first bidder. But Normandy had the brilliance to suggest that we inform people of our intentions ahead of time, and then raise as many birds as we have the interest for. Granted, we don't yet have full command of the details (what the poults will cost, the grain expense, and these finer points will certainly contribute to the final price per pound). But a few things are certain: these turkeys will be truly free ranging in our pasture with our cow herd - they will be fed organic grain (although they will also be fed any number of garden scraps and roots we harvest for them - meaning that they will feast on the full compliment that nature/nurture has to offer) - and that we will care for them with the respect that sentient beings deserve (including a humane slaughter by own own hands). If you are interested in purchasing one or more of these birds from us, send an email directly to We will respond shortly with all the details, including discounts for pre-orders, that may influence whether or not you want to commit to this. If a number of people in a given location (say, Bryn Athyn) express interest, we would absolutely make a specific trip to deliver those turkeys fresh. On the off chance that more people express interest than we feel comfortable accommodating, we will determine priority by the order in which we receive e-mails. 

We hope you are enjoying some reflection on the past year and casting your hopes for the one to come like seeds into good ground. 


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