Thursday, May 23, 2013

Let's Talk Turkey (Again)...

I have to update our TURKEY SHARE page in preparation for this year's venture, but I do not want to lose the record of last year's thoughts. As I reread the entry, I once again felt the excitement of raising turkeys and beginning our breeding program here. Last year, things did not work out as I planned for one very basic reason: THERE WERE NO TURKEYS. Our supplier had a rough run with her incubator and simply put, could not supply us with the heritage breeds we desired. No harm, no fowl, but lesson learned.. do not count your turkeys before they hatch, either.

But, why did we want to begin raising turkeys? And want it badly enough that I contacted several breeders this year to accommodate our hopeful needs? Well, let's revisit that old TURKEY SHARE page to whet your appetite for a page update detailing this year's program:

"Of course, you want to buy the best (i.e., freshest, healthiest, ethically raised, etc.) food possible for yourself and your family. That makes sense. No genetically engineered, hormone injected, artificially flavor enhanced, or cruelly processed turkeys for your family! But, perhaps you wonder, how much can you expect to pay for an organic raised or all natural turkey? The short answer is that the price really varies widely. As I was doing research for this page, I came across many comparisons listing last year's (2011) prices. For example:


       Costco: Organic Free Range Organic Turkeys $2.69/lb. This price may vary by location.

Whole Foods: Organic Turkey $3.99/lb. This price may vary by location.
Sprouts: Sprouts had organic turkeys last year for $3.49/lb. Natural turkeys (meaning not "certified organic, but pasture fed and grain fed) were priced at $1.49/lb last year.


        D'Artagnan: Organic Free Range Turkey 12-14 lbs & up, starting at $84.99+ shipping. (This is around $7.08/lb.) Order on their website: HERE.

       Wise organic Pastures: Whole Organic Turkey 14-16 lbs, $100+ shipping. (This is about $7.16/lb.) Order on their website: HERE.

       Organic Prairie: Organic Whole Young Turkey w/Giblets 14 lbs, $69.49+ shipping. (This is about $4.96/lb.) Order online HERE.

My sister called me this week to let me know a local Hannafords had whole turkey on sale for .59¢/lb. You may be used to seeing similar sale prices in your neighborhood. Why such a vast difference in price? Well, really it comes down to getting what you pay for. A genetically-enhanced, white breasted turkey common to your grocer's freezer takes only about 14 weeks to raise, from start to finish, whereas a natural turkey may take 24-30 weeks to reach the desired weight... Add to that, the time and care that must go into providing fresh pasture, housing, and water and the cost of feeding high-quality, organic feed, and you begin to see how the price can grow.

This year, we went ahead and ordered six heritage Bourbon Red poults, intending on some of these becoming our breeding stock for hatching future turkeys to sell beginning next year to folks who are interested in raising their own turkey bird for dinner. (You can read about that decision and subsequent post HERE.) Before we can figure out what we must charge to raise them for some one's dinner in coming years, we need to actually do it, see what the cost involved is first-hand, discover how good (or -hopefully not- bad) the meat tastes, and resolve other questions about our raising them. So, that is why we have decided to purchase several more as the "trial run", so to speak. For this year, we will acquire 6-8 additional turkeys of the same breed to raise until they mature to the desired weight, hopefully closer to the 24 week mark than the 30 week one. We will keep strict watch on the cost of feed and any other expenses to track our cost. One reference work estimated that it takes about 84lbs of grain to raise a tom to 30lbs. (It did not state whether the tom was strictly grain fed, the kind of grain fed, or other factors that could have a bearing on the final result.)

I have been (understandably) asked by several would-be turkey purchasers, how much the final price will be. The answer is, I don't know. What I can say is, we intend on taking the best care possible, feeding up the turkeys well with the best food we can offer them. When they reach the right size, we will take them to the butcher for processing. We will divide the total cost of raising the flock by the amount of turkeys available for eating. That will be the cost. We are not making any profit off this venture.

For our part, we will not charge you anything up front for your turkey, (since we have no guarantee that they will all survive). We will give them the very best care we can. We will update you regularly with pictures, posts, and video of this turkey adventure. We will be candid about how much the process is costing as we progress, so you will have some idea of what the end cost might be. (We would be thrilled if we can hold the cost to no more than $2.50/lb.) We will attempt to have your turkey ready for you by mid-December (if the good lord is willing and the creek don't rise).

For your part, you will be vested in the food on your table, sharing in both the risk and potential reward. You can enjoy the advantage of knowing where your food come from, how it was raised, and what it was fed; with or without the challenge of raising and caring for your turkey yourself. You will feel proud of buying from and supporting one of your local, small family farms, helping to sustain your neighbors and your friends. So, if you are interested in taking this adventure with us, the deadline for ordering your all natural, heritage turkey is June 18, 2012. (This will allow the turkeys to be 27 full weeks to our goal date of December 17th.) You can message us to add your hat into this venture.

We hope to hear from you soon!

Lally Broch Farmers,
Sean & Sonja Twombly♥

I am sorry to report that there will be not turkeys available from Lally Broch Farm in 2012. For those of you still interested in ordering a turkey for your family, our friends over at Wolfe's Neck Farm have naturally, pasture raised turkeys still available for purchase. You can visit them at the webpage HERE. They are selling their turkey's for $4.50/lb and the turkeys will be available for pick up on Wednesday, November 21st."

What has changed? Well for one thing, this year, we contacted several breeders early in the year. For another, we waited until we got that all important phone call of "Your turkeys are hatching." before we called potential customers to take reservations. I picked up 10 turkey poults this morning. THERE ARE TURKEYS IN THE HOUSE!!!

I will be working today to update this year's TURKEY SHARE page. If you are interested in our raising a heritage turkey (or two) organically for your family, you will want to check back for those details later.

Thanks for visiting with us today, friends. We're glad you came.
Sonja ♥



1 comment:

  1. I must say, they are right cute, I am afraid I would get attached to them. I know they will have an awesome life with you guys, so I will focus on that part.