Farm Update, Buying & Cooking a Pasture-Raised Turkey

Farm Update, Buying & Cooking a Pasture-Raised Turkey

Farm Happenings

The grazing season is starting to wind down, but with the beautiful mild weather we've had the last several days we are hoping to squeeze in a few more weeks of pasture rotations with the cows before cold weather and snow sets in. This "Indian Summer" weather has provided us with some extra time to finish up our lingering fall projects and get the farm ready for winter.

We processed our last batch of broiler chickens two weeks ago, for a total of 15 batches of 500 this year. That means no more fresh chickens, but we do have a good supply of frozen whole and cutup chickens available to keep everyone supplied through the winter. And a pretty good inventory of chicken parts (breasts, thighs, wings, etc) as well. And plenty of turkey and chicken bone broth for soups and stews.

Last Wednesday, I drove the first trailer full of 20 fat hogs down to This Old Farm for processing. They will be making lots of bacon, pork chops, hams, roasts, and sausages that should be in the store in a few weeks, hopefully ready before Thanksgiving. We have another trailer load going in mid-November so there is still time to fill your freezer with a half or whole hog for the winter. Learn more about ordering bulk pork.

With the broiler chickens all finished for the season, we picked up 800 replacement pullets, or young laying hens, and they are now residing in three of the Mobile Range Coops (MRCs) vacated by the broiler chickens. These young hens are just starting to lay eggs, and once the water lines running across the field freeze up we will move them into the hoophouse area for the winter. All of the older hens in the front pasture by the road will be processed into stewing hens after Thanksgiving. However, the new hens ramping up egg production we should have plenty of eggs in the store for the holidays.

Turkey Talk

With Thanksgiving coming up in a few weeks we are getting a lot of calls about turkeys. Both of our fresh turkey pickup dates scheduled the week of Thanksgiving are sold out, however, we have experienced a very good turkey raising year overall and should have over 300 frozen turkeys available to sell in the store beginning Monday, November 7th.

I took the first batch of turkeys into the processor this morning, and those will be picked up early Monday from the processor and brought back to the store and available for sale by noon while supplies last.

At this point, it's hard to say how big our turkeys will be this year, but I expect they will range from about 13 pounds on the low end up to 25 pounds or so on the high end, with the average being around 17-18 lbs. We should have a good variety of sizes available in the store.

While we are one of the few farms in the area that raises turkeys outdoors on grass, Local Food Forum writer Bob Benenson wrote a great article about the benefits of buying a pasture-raised turkey for the Buy Fresh, Buy Local Illinois website. His article focuses on on two farms in central Illinois but we did get an honorable mention at the end! Read the full article here.

Farm Store Update

With the fall growing season winding down we are having a hard time finding much local produce except of course pumpkins, squash and root vegetables. We still have quite a few of our own organic pie pumpkins raised right here in our pumpkin patch. And next Wednesday we are expecting our last shipment of Michigan organic apple cider and fresh apples for the season.

  • NEW and VERY TASTY - Anna has sourced some pasture-raised sheep's milk cheeses from Green Dirt Farm in Missouri. We just got them in last week and they are delicious.
  • Beef restock - our October beef just arrived back from the processor so we have a big selection of steaks, roasts, ground, soup and marrow bones, and even organ meats while supplies last.
  • We also have a full selection of chicken parts in stock now, including breasts, thighs, drumsticks, necks, wings, and ground chicken. We should have some chicken sausage in before Thanksgiving.
  • Our pork Shoulder Roast and Shoulder Steaks are on sale now, 20% off.
  • Fresh herbs from Wind Ridge Farm in Caledonia will be in the store on Wednesday

We hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday. Please follow us on Instagram, where Anna posts photos and farm updates a few times per week.

Cliff, Anna, and the Farm Team

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