Sunday, November 23, 2014

farmers count

We try to budget. And account for losses. And allow for accidents, oopsies and general mayhem.

We calculate and guesstimate. Weigh one against the other.

With turkeys they start as little tiny polts. They arrive on farm when it is still cold out, and take about half of the year to get to an eating size. Classic slow growing, hanging out, grazing and growing outdoors all summer and fall.

As deliveries and on farm pickups happen, the numbers get clearer. Last year the numbers were chilling. Not many birds, and they were huge.

2014? We have a pretty good idea how it happened, and we hope to repeat it again sometime. The summer was not too hot, with a lovely amount of rain. No untoward floods, no power outages requiring hauling of water from off site. It was, dare I say, an almost boring growing season. Dogs protected. Farmers worked steady. The grain bin worked. Pens rolled daily. Water flowed.

When we count turkeys we tend to close one eye, so that we miss a few. Allowing for heat stroke, or a cat attack, or drowning when 6 inches of rain falls in two hours during the only time of the year the pens are in the low parts and a few drown.

But none of that happened. Twice a day water checks kept them hydrated. Twice a day pen moves kept them chomping grass, thistle, bugs, worms.

Over years of growing turkeys we have learned to request customers to be flexible on requested weights. Because it has been a challenge to predict, over months and months of sharing farmland with these birds, just what size they will be.

2 years ago? Puny. Tiny. Last year? Massive, beyond belief really. This year? Almost all are about the same size. A little variance but not much. 15 pounds average, a nice impressive but not too big bird. Plenty so that two will work if you need lots of meat.

And back to counting, and the numbers. We had counted, with an eye closed, accounting for all the ways turkeys can not make it to a dinner table, the number.

And as we fill orders, empty our coolers and fridge, as we greet people who allow us to year after year supply them with a pretty important part of an important annual event...and as we meet new people who wonder out loud if they have arrived at the correct location, sometimes here or sometimes in a parking lot...we realize our count is off. We should have kept both eyes open and counted every single bird.

We still have 30 turkeys left. And they are filling up our fridge and coolers. We owe $9,400 to our feed guy and it would be good to pay him. 

Next year, and how growing will go is anyone's guess. 2014? A beautiful year. An abundant turkey year. Get yours from us. Please. So we can still be here next year.

$6 per pound

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