Thursday, September 11, 2014

Turkey Reservations are now open!

Turkey reservations are now open. You can reserve online here.

We have about 80 birds available so far, that number will likely increase as we get closer to the holidays, as we get a better count of how many birds will be big enough to harvest. We butcher all the birds the weekend of November 22-23. If you want one for a subsequent holiday, we can freeze them for you, and you can make arrangements to pick them up.

We will have a handful of small turkeys available prior to Thanksgiving, as first-come, first-serve, that you can purchase if you want them beforehand.

Details are in the form linked above, but here are some more details:

 Like always, we can't promise an exact size, but we really do our best. For reference, they generally state that you need 1 pound per person eating. Realizing that some of the weight of the bird is going to be bones and such, so that doesn't mean each person is eating a pound of meat, though I know a lot of folks could! You can round that up or down based on how many leftovers you would like to have.

Some info about our birds - we raise 2 types of birds. One is called "Heritage" which means they come from a long line of registered breeds that can breed on their own, and have some traceability back to wild turkeys. There are 6 recognized breeds by the American Poultry Association, and we have a few of those on the farm - Bourbon Reds, Black Spanish, White Holland, Narragansett, Blue Slate and Royal Palm. If a heritage bird is what you want, keep in mind that the hens are usually 6-11 pounds in size, and the toms are typically 12-18 pounds.

 The other breed of bird is called a broad-breasted, or double breasted turkey. These guys are genetic hybrids, just like our chickens, bred specifically to grow an extra breast muscle. These are the big turkeys that have that big round chest and look great on your holiday table. I struggle with getting the size just right on these guys. Three years ago, they grew way too big, and no one wanted 30 pound turkeys! Two years ago, I overcompensated and got them way too late, and most never topped 20 pounds. Last year we did better, and I am hoping the toms will come in around that perfect 20-25 pound size that a lot of people want. It's too early to tell, as they are still quite small, but they grow so much faster than their heritage cousins.  

The second change we have here is that we have some birds raised certified Organic this year! What does that mean?  It means that all the turkeys were raised on pasture. The ones at Long Shadow Farm were raised on conventional feed - it's non-medicated feed, but the feed is not certified Organic.  Our friends at WiMo Farms are raising double-breasted turkeys this year on certified organic feed. That means no chemicals sprayed on the grains in their feed, and no GMOs in their feed. The prices are different. 
  • Pastured, conventional feed turkeys : $3.75/pound
  • Pastured, Organic turkeys: $7.00/pound
You can make your selection on the reservation form.

We are looking forward to providing your holiday turkeys for you this year. The reservation form will be taken down when all reservations are full. Last year, we sold out on November 1st!

We are also looking for extra volunteers this year. Long Shadow Farm is down one operator for the turkey harvest. We would love some volunteers for November 21, 22 and/or 23. You can sign up on our volunteer sign up form. Any help would be appreciated! You won't be asked to do anything you are not comfortable doing, and can include butchering, scalding, plucking, cleaning, bagging the turkeys - cleaning up at the end of the day, or even helping with some other chores while Turkey Processing is happening. However you would like to help would be appreciated!  We'll need help on November 21, 22 and 23.