Monday, November 19, 2007

Turkey Judgement Day

Well, I have decided that the time has come for me to justify my meat eating ways, and gain an up-close understanding of the slaughter process. And with the upcoming meat-focused holiday, what better way than to hook up with my friendly neighborhood turkey farmer and offer to help on the fateful day? Well, that's exactly what I did, and we made plans with Dan & Dawn Boucher to go to their farm this past Sunday. They run Boucher Family Farm and Green Mountain Blue Cheese in Highgate Center. They farm the heritage breed of turkey called the American Bronze. You can click here for the lowdown on this heritage breed from the American Livestock and Breeds Conservancy.

Did you know that before partaking in such an activity, you can desensitize yourself with great videos of the turkey slaughtering process on YouTube?! For all you novice hunters out there, you can learn in great detail how to field dress a deer, too.
Both Spence and I were adequately prepared for the deed on Sunday morning, and we could hardly wait! You know, there's nothing clean about slaughter. There's blood. But, there's also lots of water for cleaning every step of the way, and before you know it, the gobbling bird fairly quickly resembles what we're all used to seeing on our tables T-day. We never actually did any of the killing, but we did pluck and eviscerate - I'd say we earned our keep, and we were rewarded with our very own turkey for our feast on Thursday. I have posted some pics below of our experience, not too graphic, really. Just enough to represent the process and show you what we did. THANK YOU to Dan & Dawn, who also fed the crew an amazing post-harvest lunch that we're still talking about. We got a terrific tour led by Dan of the entire farm and got to see the cows getting milked, and the cheese rooms where their great cheeses were aging (award winning blue cheese!). Check out their farm blog and see what they're up to! Sign us up for turkey killin' day next year! We learned so much about another way to farm - it's good for us to get out now and then and realize that not everybody farms veggies. Enjoy the pics, and happy Turkey Day!

There they are, the tools of destruction: inverted buckets with the bottoms cut out and mounted on a backsplash, and loppers. Yep, turkey guillotine = loppers.

Dan with the American Bronze turkey.

Turkey goes in bucket, lopped, drained and rinsed in this spot.

Turkey goes into scalder to loosen feathers...

Turkey goes into the tumbler, which acts like tons o' fingers and plucks most feathers off.

Turkey gets hung upside down, and de-necked, de-intestined, de-cropped, de-gizzarded, de-livered, de-hearted, de-lunged and de-footed here. The livers, gizzards, hearts and necks go into a bag to accompany the turkeys. We also pick off remaining feathers.
Trying my hand at eviscerating...

Spencer was great at getting the lungs out all in one piece!
He's done it again! After this, they get iced, and then off to final inspection.
Dawn's dad was in charge of final inspection.
And voila! Time from lopping to bag for each turkey is about 10-15 minutes; it was a very smooth process that we actually really enjoyed. See you on Thanksgiving, Mr. Turkey!

1 comment:

Julio said...

Sounds pretty cool that you got to be a part of the other side of the food process. I witnessed a commercial slaughterhouse operation in college and it was pretty disgusting and dehumanizing for the people involved. This seems more natural to be a part of the actual process.