Laura looked like the pied piper walking the flock across the clover. Despite Darienne’s calls of encouragement leaning through the front window, they balked at the trailer. These moments always make me think of Temple Grandin and of conversations years ago with our friend Lisa designing a facility to care for elders with dementia , where a change in rug color or floor surface can serve to alter flow. It also brought forward flashes of stories of young boys back in the day, walking Vermont farm turkeys to Boston! They had to lift the birds across covered bridges in mid-day because the birds arrived at the darkened bridges and would not advance!
It took a few times of tempting them in with specs of grain to achieve a critical mass in the trailer. We closed them in. Then loaded the hill-billy rigging in the bed of the truck. We knew the birds were big but both spaces filled to the point that we did not want to add more birds and we were not finished. So the last six went into a couple of dog crates, only one of which fit in the storage section of the trailer… As I rolled out the driveway the next morning the last three were in the cab of the truck riding shotgun with me! Laura noted we could have seat-belted one of the large males into the passenger seat! And it dawned on me that this would be a good moment for a “smelfie”! I guess we are all glad the olfactory factor can’t transmit via these pixels!
Many fond memories exist of our team rallying for the heavy lifting of turkey processing day. But last year’s early snows and the incredibly harsh temps of 2013 lead us to outsource this year’s work before all water pipes were frozen. Driving the birds to Maple Wind Farm’s slaughter facility was quite a joy as their new facility represents their triumph after the challenge of the fire that burned their barn to the ground. Processing at such a facility also means that the birds are USDA inspected and can be sold out of state and to restaurants.
It was still some heavy lifting, passing the birds into the Maple Wind team. We grew some big birds this year.
As they returned to us tidily packaged with their inspection stamp my mind flashed again to the long walk to Boston. This year some of these lovely birds who grazed on grass and gobbled their fair share of Green Mountain Organic grains, are on their way to the Boston region! Chef Charlie Foster will be serving them this fall at Woods Hill Table, the new Concord Massachusetts restaurant which celebrates the benefits of small farms and fresh local foods. In fact, proprietor Kristin Canty, (known also for her film Farmageddon — the Unseen War on American Family Farms), feels so strongly about serving pasture raised meat and dairy she has her own farm in New Hampshire. Former Green Mountain Girls Farm staffer Amber Reed pastures their animals and plugged us into the equation since they don’t grow turkeys.
One way or another Vermont turkeys have gotten to Boston over the years! We are glad that ours went in a nice freezer truck with Amber!
And we hope that through the good work of Kristin and Charlie some folks in and around Concord get a chance to learn about our lattes on the hoof, farmstays, tours, classes etc., as well as the events and attractions of our Floating Bridge Food and Farms Cooperative. Tuscany is far! And the wholesome and intangible qualities that make our turkey great are served up on a daily basis at our farm and in our neighborhood. Come visit! Buy a turkey! And imagine the impacts on people and the planet as we link up all our passionate efforts to clean up the food system.