All Turkeys are Not Equal

Visit from dear family & friends, another Old Rag Mt. Hike, broken down trucks, animal escapes, trip to the butcher…..its been a great week!
Heading down the farm road to inspect Friday morning operations
The dynamic cooler cleaning duo!
Wow….watch those sheep run after Uncle Kenan!
They are all corralled now!
Watching Uncle Kenan move the sheep through the corral
Escapees……Naughty cows – I guess the grass just looked too green on the other side.
A new greenhouse being unloaded
This week on the farm
There is never a dull moment around here. Whether chasing a couple naughty dairy cows who noticed the open barn door or a mama pig that went for a personal tour of the farm, you find that you need to be ready
to change course & direction at a moment’s notice. Then there are deliveries all week long that don’t necessarily ascribe to a particular schedule and a sudden weather forecast change (like the one for frost Friday night). Flexibility is paramount. As one definition put it, flexibility is not setting my affections on ideas or plans which could be changed by God or others. We’re grateful to Dad & Mom for encouraging us to be flexible. It has definitely helped us keep on going even when you don’t get everything done. I like the sign that hangs in the eating area at the farm, There is Always, Always, Always something to be thankful for!

We had a wonderful visit with dear family & friends earlier this week which also included another great hike to the top of Old Rag Mountain – leaves are just starting to change.

And there are the simple blessings of life such as the beauty of a freshly painted shed (see above) that provides rest and peace to the eyes. Looking forward to a great week ahead!

Baby greens growing in the greenhouse
Checking out Thanksgiving Turkeys
Organic vs. Pasture Raised vs. Honey Brook Turkeys

The grocery stores have come a long way in providing better options to customers at Thanksgiving. However, it is important to know what we are looking at. You have to inspect what you expect.

The standard Organic labeled turkey means the turkey was in a barn crowded with many other turkeys eating organic feed with no antibiotics or growth hormones. Certified Humanely Raised standards give 2-4 sq ft/turkey and Animal Welfare Approved 16 sq ft/turkey. And while organic turkeys are given access to the outdoors, it does not have to be encouraged, let alone have green grass. The label may even tout that the Organic birds are ‘free range’ or ‘cage free’. This simply means the barn raised birds are not in cages but still running around in their manure and poultry dust. Then when it comes to processing time, these Organic Turkeys are usually processed in water containing bleach & chemicals.

Pastured Raised turkey is a turkey that was raised on pasture. A much better improvement over the free range, cage free birds. Now the pasture may be primarily dirt and the birds may be supplemented with GMO, antibiotic treated feed but because they are on pasture the birds will taste better. But I often remind customers, its not just about the taste.

Honey Brook Turkeys
Honey Brook Turkeys: As we have learned the industry standards and through the help of concerned customers, we have continued to improve our operation. Honey Brook turkeys are Pasture Raised on Grass. Our fields are not treated with chemicals and we move our birds frequently so they stay on grass, fertilize the pasture, and so improve the field for next year. If given the opportunity through rotational grazing, turkeys can consume up to 40% of their diet needs from pasture. We used to supplement with non-GMO feed until we found out that most non-GMO feed comes from cropland that is treated with chemicals.  We considered Organic feed but could not verify that it is tested or prove that it truly is Organic. Finally we found a source of feed from Pennsylvania. The farmers there use organic methods in growing their feed crops but then after the feed is grown, it is tested. Our feed company tests and guarantees the feed we use to be GMO free, Pesticide free, Herbicide free, Non-medicated, and USA produced. This has given us a high level of confidence in what our animals are eating. After all, we are what we eat, eats. At processing time, the birds are process in water that is free from bleach & chemicals. The result is a wholesome Thanksgiving Turkey that tastes fantastic without compromise.
Mama pig went on a little run earlier this week :-)….on the way back to ‘home’
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