April. That’s how long Thanksgiving has been on my mind this year. That’s the month we asked Idle River Farms of Burlington, MI, to raise our first crop of heritage turkeys. Taking up to 2 1/2 months longer to bring to harvest than conventional turkeys, our order was placed at the 11th hour.
Ever since then, Matt & Kristal Burdick who run Idle River have been passing along images of the turkeys’ progress. From poults in May to the images that arrived today, I have been moved by these photographs–so pastoral in nature. They speak of life and, moreover, a quality of life which translates into quality of meat. The images remind me of a conversation with Mary Wills and Jill Johnson of Crane Dance Farm who run an animal welfare approved operation in Middleville, MI. Of their livestock they observed that they enjoy hundreds of good days and one bad day, while animals which are the product of the conventional meat industry have hundreds of bad days and one good day. For both, that day is harvest day.
The appointed time for the Narragansett and Bourbon Red turkeys you see pictured below is November 18. It’s a sobering thought and one that instills, paradoxically, a reverence for life and a sense of gratitude. It’s this piety that was so acute in the Native American peoples that came to know and give thanks with the earliest American colonists, and I like to think it was the Narragansett turkey that graced their tables on that first Thanksgiving.
To place your Thanksgiving order (and to enjoy 10% off through the end of September) visit the turkey product pages by clicking here.