I volunteer on an organic farm and have had the luxury of harvesting food for my table over the past three and a half years. I have hunted, kept bees, fertilized, seeded, and weeded. Nothing tastes better than food that I put hard work into producing.
Warning, for those who are faint of heart, pictures may ruin you idea of the process of putting a turkey on the table.
However, what we did on Tuesday I classify as gentle processing of meat, because we accomplished every step with intention and respect toward the animal now part of our nourishment.
Tuesday of this week I met Barry and a real farmer's daughter, Amy (not the pretend kind, like me) at Barry's farm. Gobble, gobble, gobble, was the first thing I heard as I got out of the car. I looked at Amy and said, "they aren't dead yet?" She laughed.
It's a great time to practice detachment, when eye-to-eye with your next meal. The bird's brown feathers blended with the woods he'd roamed for all of his life, on a farm where turkeys forage and are fed minimal grain. Amy and Barry kept telling me: this is going to be good eating. Little did they know that I just wanted to get through this without throwing up.
We processed five birds on Tuesday. Five coolers filled with ice waited for the animals. While the dogs hung out, hoping for something to eat, nothing really interested them. However, Barry said that the kill pile would be gone by morning. Coyotes, raccoon, and possum scavenge in the night for the innards and discarded parts. Nothing wastes, and nothing is as violent as processing plants' treatment of the animals.
I'm grateful for our meal. Join me tomorrow for Wednesday's prep.