It’s a very special time on the farm. The weather is getting cold and wet and chores, along with the available daylight hour, are getting much sparser.
The best part of this change, though, is that the turkeys are ready! After 16 weeks of loyal service, wonderful grazing, and spectacular fertilization the turkeys are all grown up now and ready to be processed. This year we raised 200 turkeys (instead of 75) and we couldn’t be happier. It’s been a lot of work, but after all the compliments last year we really wanted to be able to provide as many neighbors as possible with these truly special birds.
The biggest change has been that these guys are now being kept in our largest enclosure yet! Turkeys are such wonderful grazers (thus their spectacular flavor) that we decided to give them a full quarter acre every other day of completely fresh grass (that’s grass that no poultry has grazed in at least a year), and boy did they use it. There is a particularly magical moment when they first enter fresh grass. In just a matter of seconds all 200 turkeys begin running around picking through their favorite forages or chasing grasshoppers—it’s a consistently impressive sight that we use almost always use for tours. Anyone that’s seen it instantly understands how important rapidly rotated fresh pasture is for turkeys.
The only downside is that once again these turkeys are far too healthy. Even though we limited their access to grain and slaughtered them two weeks earlier than last year, these guys thrived on the fertile fields around our farm and ended up being about 3 pounds larger on average than we expected. All in all, though, the quality of these birds is off the charts and we don’t mind slightly larger birds if they continue to taste (as one customer said) “like the meat has its own gravy!”