Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Check out the story in the Salisbury Post about our MPU (mobile processing unit):

Wild Turkey Farms News- December 17, 2010

Wild Turkey Farms News- Dec 17, 2010

Did anyone notice it's been cold? At least we had a nice balmy day on Thursday and looks like today will be a repeat. I know many of you have been looking forward to our last batch of chickens for the year since early December. I've got to confess that even though I've been looking forward to taking them off the payroll, the weather over the last 2 weeks has had me less than enthusiastic about processing them though. We plan to take advantage of this nice weather & process some of them this afternoon. What we don't get to today we'll hopefully finish tomorrow afternoon. Come find us early at the farmer's markets tomorrow for the chickens we do get to or plan to come visit us at the farm over the weekend to pick up a fresh bird.

As many of you know we're really passionate about promoting the many great local foods available from not only us but the many other great small farms in our area. We feel strongly that healthy, local foods can and should be available to everyone regardless of income. We would like to invite you to share the holiday spirit and help make good food available this holiday season to the less fortunate. You can do this by purchasing some extra at the farmers markets and taking it to your local mission. To really make your money go farther visit with the farmers at the end of the market and help them by purchasing some of their leftover vegetables to donate.


Davidson Farmer's Market (9-Noon). We're all tailgating in the lower parking lot on Jackson St this weekend so come find us at our winter spot.

Salisbury Farmer's Market (10-Noon) Domisty will be there so you can stock up for your holiday meals. Best bet is to email us your order today so she can have it ready for you to pick up.



We hope that you'll support some of the chefs & businesses that support us & other local farmers.
Black Mountain Farmers Market- Black Mountain
Chef Charles Catering - Charlotte/ DFM
Hippie Kitchen Bakery- Huntersville / DFM
Know Your Farms Buying Club- Davidson/Charlotte
Customshop Restaurant- Charlotte
Flat Iron Restaurant- Davidson
Bread Riot Coop- Salisbury


From our Family to yours: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Thanks for your support, have a great weekend, and we'll see you at the market.

Lee, Domisty, Rosty, & Charlie
Wild Turkey Farms
China Grove, NC

Monday, December 6, 2010

Wild Turkey Farms News- December 3, 2010

Wild Turkey Farms News- Dec 3, 2010


Thanksgiving Review- Yet another Thanksgiving has come & gone and the reports are that our turkeys we're loved by all. This year's rough summer resulted in turkeys that were a bit lighter than expected so we hope that didn't inconvenience anyone. This year we processed about 70 Turkeys with lots of help from friends, family, and others. Turkey Day starts with lighting the burner on the scalder before daylight and ends when we get home from deliveries about 10pm so I've got to say we're glad to see that day done. Don't worry though, we've already begun making plans for next year's birds.

Thanks to Mary Jane Leach from DFM for the nice article she wrote on our turkey processing day (click here to see).

NO CHICKENS WILL BE AVAILABLE THIS WEEK- They are not quite ready so we're going to have to wait another week.


Davidson Farmer's Market (9-11am). We'll be leaving early this week since they are closing Main St by noon. Come by & get loaded up on Pork, Beef, & Eggs.


We hope that you'll support some of the chefs & businesses that support us & other local farmers.
Black Mountain Farmers Market- Black Mountain
Chef Charles Catering - Charlotte/ DFM
Hippie Kitchen Bakery- Huntersville / DFM
Know Your Farms Buying Club- Davidson/Charlotte
Customshop Restaurant- Charlotte
Flat Iron Restaurant- Davidson

Thanks for your support, have a great weekend, and we'll see you at the market.

Lee, Domisty, Rosty, & Charlie
Wild Turkey Farms
China Grove, NC

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

To say that November is a busy time of the year for us is an understatement!


The Tuesday before Thanksgiving is a very long day for us.....this year it was a 16.5 hour day. The day started at 6 am (we slept in). Lee headed to the farm & I got the boys to school. By the time I got back to the farm our volunteers were there, the turkeys were caught and we were ready to start processing.


Since some of our volunteers had never processed poultry we ran through the game plan with everyone. It really does work well if everyone has a specific job. We had someone killing the turkeys, then they went to the scalder (this helps to loosen their feathers), next the plucker (where the feathers are removed) and finally to the tables to be eviscerated. Lee & I supervised & helped out as needed but our job was to take the turkeys weigh them, tag them & get them into their ice baths.
The time went by quickly & then customers started arriving at the farm to pick-up their turkeys. I didn't even have time to change clothes....... We learn something every year that we can use to improve upon the next year. This years lesson was to label the coolers & freezers with which turkeys are in them. Then maybe we don't have to look through 5 coolers to find turkey #22.
Then came the task of assigning everyone a turkey. I had about 6 sheets of paper that we had written the turkey number & weight on. I compiled them onto one sheet of paper and then took our spreadsheet of all the customers which included name, phone number, where the turkey would be picked up at, & if they had requested a larger or smaller bird. After assigning everyone their bird it was time to package them up & load the market trailer to start our drop-offs.
Did I mention that by this time it was around 6 o'clock in the evening and we had eaten a slice of pumpkin bread & coffee at about 9 o'clock that morning and a handful of chips for lunch.
Our first drop-off was Davidson Town Hall. Of course no matter what time we say we will be there we are late. This year the traffic was AWFUL!! We had a couple different people call and ask where we were and I told them we would be there soon.... We also had a few customers call us and say there is no way I can get there. This put us late getting to our Salisbury drop-off also but I had called a customer to say what everybody know please.
So once again the Thanksgiving season has ended for Wild Turkey Farms.
We are very thankful for our customers who continue to support us year after year. We are very thankful for the volunteers that we have year after year. I actually had a couple volunteer to help next year with the logistics of the turkeys so maybe we can find them a little easier next year.
I included a few pictures of our day.
There will be more posted on the Facebook page.







Turkeys





Scalder



Plucker











Monday, November 22, 2010

WTF News- November 19, 2010

Wild Turkey Farms News- November 19, 2010

Where has the year gone? It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next week and as I write this Charlie is by my side coaching me on how to sing "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer". We've finally traded 90 degree days for frosty mornings and the true sign that the year is about used up is when next years seed catalogs start appearing in the mailbox. As we prepare to gather with family & friends next week it gets me to thinking about a few of the things that I'll be thankful for come next Thursday;
Domisty- she puts up with a lot from Rosty, Charlie, and occasionally myself
That we're done with turkeys for the year- they are off our payroll & on your tables.
For everyone that has helped make our markets, open houses, farm tours, etc a great success this year.
Everyone that has made this a wonderful year for us. We are really honored that you chose to support us and feed our products to your friends & families.
Bacon. Who wouldn't be thankful for bacon???? Especially when we just picked up a batch this week and will have it at the markets Saturday to make everyone happy. We'll also have our suburban ham slices too.


Davidson Farmer's Market (9am-noon). We're in the Town Hall parking lot as usual so come stock up.

Domisty will be at the Salisbury Farmers Winter Market tomorrow so come find us under the big green tent 10am-noon so come on out and load up. Email your order in by Friday afternoon to make sure you get what you need for Thanksgiving week.

We hope that you'll support some of the chefs & businesses that support us & other local farmers.
Black Mountain Farmers Market- Black Mountain
Chef Charles Catering - Charlotte/ DFM
Hippie Kitchen Bakery- Huntersville / DFM
Know Your Farms Buying Club- Davidson/Charlotte
Customshop Restaurant- Charlotte
Flat Iron Grill- Davidson


Thanks for your support, have a great weekend, and we'll see you at the market.

Lee, Domisty, Rosty, & Charlie
Wild Turkey Farms
China Grove, NC

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wild Turkey Farms- October 29, 2010

Wild Turkey Farms News- Oct 29, 2010

Turkeys Are Sold Out For This Year Thanks to everyone for your enthusiasm for our turkeys this year. We set a record (for us anyway) by selling out in just 5 hours. We've been busy contacting everyone we know to help locate turkeys for those that missed out but I'm sorry to report that everyone around the state I know is also out of birds. Hopefully next year will be better.

Farm story of the week- Amado the gypsy.
Amado is our 2400lb black Angus bull, or to be perfectly truthful, partly our bull- we're still making payments on him. The other afternoon about 4pm our neighbor stopped by for a visit. Now for those of you that have been on our email long enough you'll remember him from the the great pig round up a couple months back. Our conversation started as usual:

him- "staying busy?"
me-" plenty busy so far. You?"
him- Not too bad. You missing a _____(fill in the blank w/ bull, pigs, goats, llama, etc)
me- "Guess so since your here. I'll go round em up shortly, thanks for the warning."
him- "Call if you need any help."
me- "thanks"

So this time it appeared that Amado had become smitten with a couple of his cows and thought he'd go visit. The neighbor's bull didn't take quite so kindly to a stranger trying to steal his gals. Lucky for everyone involved we keep a good electric fence between us which means they just paw at the ground, bellow, and snort at each other. Even though he got out, Amado had jumped the fence into another pasture & was still separated from the other bull. After reviewing our fence line & determining that he must have sprouted wings & cleared the fence since there were no holes, I hooked the truck up to the trailer & set off to evaluate the setup at the neighbors house. Did I mention I had Rosty & Charlie in tow & I'd plowed my cell phone into the garden on Sunday so I'm without communication too. After developing a game plan, the boys and I made a couple attempts at driving Amado up to the corral! without any luck because he wouldn't go anywhere that his 25 new girlfriends and their grumpy boyfriend weren't (and just for the record before anyone forwards this to DSS, I didn't actually have the boys in the pasture with the bull- they we're 2 fences over & way out of the way). About dark our neighbor showed up with his tractor & a bale of hay to lead all of the cows up to the corral. He told Rosty & Charlie to come ride with him in his tractor which has features that they've never knew existed such as an enclosed cab, AC, a radio, and Charlie's favorite, a horn- beep beep. Long story short-we got them to the barn in the dark, the lights in the barn didn't work but we still managed to sort through 40 solid black cows & calves in a dark barn to separate Amado out & get him loaded on the trailer for the ride home. I'm happy to report that Amado is safe & sound a home, or at least he was this afternoon. ! ; The boys and I are busy being really good and hoping that Santa Clause will bring us a cab tractor with AC, a radio, and a horn for Christmas. Domisty keeps telling us that it wouldn't fit in his sleigh and besides, the three of us haven't been THAT GOOD this year anyway. Oh well, maybe next year.


Have a Safe & Happy Halloween Everyone!!!

Thanksgiving Turkeys


Friday, October 15, 2010

Know Your Farms farm tour

We participated again this year in the 2nd Annual Know Your Farms farm tour. We learned a lot last year doing the tour for the first time and hoped that we could make this year even better. In a lot of ways we did just that! This year we has food available for sale that way you could enjoy a WTF hot dog or brat. We also had friends, family and customers volunteer in all aspects that left me free to roam around and answer any questions while Lee was giving tours on the hayride.
The one thing that was lacking (and it was my fault) is that once again I did not get many pictures. So here are the few that I took before anybody was even at the farm.
Our sign



The info table






The Super-A tractor







The rules






WTF News- october 15, 2010

Wild Turkey Farms News- Oct 15, 2010

With the fall weather finally kicking in every one's local food thoughts turn to the Thanksgiving meal. So with turkey time just around the corner, here are the details on our turkeys. We'll do preorders for our turkeys starting in about a week.

Here's how things go:
1.Last years turkey customers get the first right of refusal for birds usually in early October. We're currently confirming with them.

2. Then we will announce the remainder of the turkeys later next week (hint, hint)
anyone interested replies and orders are taken on a first come basis .

3. Once confirmed you have 1 week to mail a $20 deposit to hold your turkey.

4. Turkeys are processed on the Tuesday before thanksgiving and can be picked up at the farm that afternoon or at one of our drop sites that evening and the balance is due at pick up.


Davidson Farmer's Market (8am-noon). We're in the Town Hall parking lot working out of our big white trailer so come by and see us.

We'll be at the Salisbury Farmers Market tomorrow (Last day of the regular season market) so come find us under the big green tent 7am-noon so come on out and load up.

Winter product availability- We Will be participating in the Davidson Winter Market starting in Nov. We have not decided on when we will participate in the Salisbury Farmers Market winter market but will keep you posted.




We hope that you'll support some of the chefs & businesses that support us & other local farmers.
Black Mountain Farmers Market- Black Mountain
Chef Charles Catering - Charlotte/ DFM
Hippie Kitchen Bakery- Huntersville / DFM
Know Your Farms Buying Club- Davidson/Charlotte
Customshop Restaurant- Charlotte
Four Friends Brewing- Charlotte


Thanks for your support, have a great weekend, and we'll see you at the market.

Lee, Domisty, Rosty, & Charlie
Wild Turkey Farms
China Grove, NC
704-202-9348


Website update- We are back up & going. Actually you should be redirected to our blog when you go to www.wildturkeyfarms.com If you are still having trouble accessing it please let us know.

Please feel free to forward our emails to anyone that may be interested and they can email us at wildturkey_farms@yahoo.com to join but before you forward out you may want to delete the "manage your subscription" tag at the bottom of this newsletter. If you forward this out, the receiver or anyone the receiver sends it to can remove you from our list and we cannot add you back on. You may not even get a message that you've quit.

WTF News- october 8, 2010

Wild Turkey Farms News- Oct 8, 2010

Been another busy week around here. Everything (including me) is enjoying the cooler temps. Hopefully the frost will hold off for a while so the grass has a chance to grow some. That hot spell in Sept really put a hurt'n on the fall grazing but we'll make do one way of the other. Turkeys are plugging right along but with all the bad luck this year's supply will be tight. Stay tuned for more details on how to get your name on one.

We will NOT be at the China Grove Farmers Market. Got to make a run to the processor's this afternoon so we'll be restocked on our great tasting pork & beef so unfortunately we'll miss out today.

Davidson Farmer's Market (8am-noon). We're in the Town Hall parking lot working out of our big white trailer so come by and see us.

We'll be at the Salisbury Farmers Market tomorrow so come find us under the big green tent 7am-noon so come on out and load up.

We hope that you'll support some of the chefs & businesses that support us & other local farmers.
Black Mountain Farmers Market- Black Mountain
Chef Charles Catering - Charlotte/ DFM
Hippie Kitchen Bakery- Huntersville / DFM
Know Your Farms Buying Club- Davidson/Charlotte
Customshop Restaurant- Charlotte
Watts Grocery- Durham
Sage & Swift Catering- Durham
Four Friends Brewing- Charlotte


Thanks for your support, have a great weekend, and we'll see you at the market.

Lee, Domisty, Rosty, & Charlie
Wild Turkey Farms
China Grove, NC
704-202-9348


Website update- We are back up & going. Actually you should be redirected to our blog when you go to www.wildturkeyfarms.com If you are still having trouble accessing it please let us know.

Please feel free to forward our emails to anyone that may be interested and they can email us at wildturkey_farms@yahoo.com to join but before you forward out you may want to delete the "manage your subscription" tag at the bottom of this newsletter. If you forward this out, the receiver or anyone the receiver sends it to can remove you from our list and we cannot add you back on. You may not even get a message that you've quit.

Friday, September 24, 2010

WTF News- September 24, 2010

Wild Turkey Farms News- Sept 24, 2010

Another great Know Your Farms Fall Farm Tour!!! Hats off to Christy & Wes Shi and all of their volunteers for another successful tour last weekend. A GREAT BIG THANK YOU to our friends Patti, Laura, Penny, and Judy as well as our family for helping make our part a success. We couldn't have done it without you all.

We will be at the China Grove Farmers Market at the Mill Friday from 4-6pm so come see us for all of your meat needs. Alan Goodman will have an apple cider making demo at the market this evening.

Davidson Farmer's Market (8am-noon). We're in the Town Hall parking lot working out of our big white trailer so come by and see us.

We'll be at the Salisbury Farmers Market tomorrow so come find us under the big green tent 7am-noon so come on out and load up.

We hope that you'll support some of the chefs & businesses that support us & other local farmers.
Black Mountain Farmers Market- Black Mountain
Chef Charles Catering - Charlotte/ DFM
Hippie Kitchen Bakery- Huntersville / DFM
Know Your Farms Buying Club- Davidson/Charlotte
Customshop Restaurant- Charlotte
Watts Grocery- Durham
Sage & Swift Catering- Durham
Four Friends Brewing- Charlotte


Thanks for your support, have a great weekend, and we'll see you at the market.

Lee, Domisty, Rosty, & Charlie
Wild Turkey Farms
China Grove, NC
704-202-9348


Website update- We are back up & going. Actually you should be redirected to our blog when you go to www.wildturkeyfarms.com If you are still having trouble accessing it please let us know.

Please feel free to forward our emails to anyone that may be interested and they can email us at wildturkey_farms@yahoo.com to join but before you forward out you may want to delete the "manage your subscription" tag at the bottom of this newsletter. If you forward this out, the receiver or anyone the receiver sends it to can remove you from our list and we cannot add you back on. You may not even get a message that you've quit.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

WTF News- September 17, 2010

Wild Turkey Farms News- Sept 17, 2010

Busy is an understatement. We got a loaner/ test drive tractor from a dealer this week so we could finally get our hay made and everything has been wide open since. With the farm tour tomorrow afternoon we've had to finish up a variety of projects and do a few things just to pretty up the place. Today we'll be putting on the finishing touches and getting ready for the markets tomorrow. Looks like great weather over the weekend for the farm tour so I'm sure we'll have a great turnout & we'll be exhausted by Sunday afternoon. Have a great weekend & we'll see you at the markets.

Put some WTF in your kids lunch box. Try our new Bologna. Made from our premium Berkshire pork without all the nitrates & fillers like the store bought stuff. We've had a small batch made so give it a try & let us know what you think. It already carries an endorsement from Rosty & Charlie.


We will NOT be at the China Grove Market this week.
The China Grove Farmers Market at the Mill has been extended and will run through Friday October 15.

Davidson Farmer's Market (8am-11am). We will be leaving early this week so come see us before 11am.

We have some friends that will be standing in for Domisty at the Salisbury Farmers Market tomorrow so come find them under the big green tent 7am-noon so come on out and load up.


Volunteer Opportunities-


Don't forget to pick up your tickets for the Know Your Farms Annual Farm Tour Sept 18 & 19. This years tour features 27 farms all across the Piedmont. For details check out their website. http://knowyourfarms.com/j/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=99:annual-farm-tour-new

We hope that you'll support some of the chefs & businesses that support us & other local farmers.
Black Mountain Farmers Market- Black Mountain
Chef Charles Catering - Charlotte/ DFM
Hippie Kitchen Bakery- Huntersville / DFM
Know Your Farms Buying Club- Davidson/Charlotte
Customshop Restaurant- Charlotte
Flat Iron Restaurant- Davidson
Watts Grocery- Durham
Sage & Swift Catering- Durham
Four Friends Brewing- Charlotte


Thanks for your support, have a great weekend, and we'll see you at the market.

Lee, Domisty, Rosty, & Charlie
Wild Turkey Farms
China Grove, NC
704-202-9348


Website update- We are back up & going. Actually you should be redirected to our blog when you go to www.wildturkeyfarms.com If you are still having trouble accessing it please let us know.

Please feel free to forward our emails to anyone that may be interested and they can email us at wildturkey_farms@yahoo.com to join but before you forward out you may want to delete the "manage your subscription" tag at the bottom of this newsletter. If you forward this out, the receiver or anyone the receiver sends it to can remove you from our list and we cannot add you back on. You may not even get a message that you've quit.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Protein University


Back in August we participated in Protein University held at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. We were very excited about the experience but really did not know what to expect. We were participating as farmers and we're really just there to watch and learn. We donated one of our pigs and in return we stayed at the Grove Park Inn and got to meet chefs, butchers, writers and other farmers from across the United States.
Our Sunday afternoon began with meeting Brady Lowe, of Protein University along with some of the other farmers. He told us a little about Protein U and some of the other events he had worked with in the past year. That evening we met all the participants for the event. We also were served a delicious supper by the Grove Park Inn chefs. A lot of socializing and mingling went on and they also taped You Tubes clips.
On Monday morning we had breakfast at 9 am (I love these people- I'm usually up at 5:30am) and the chefs and butchers brainstormed about who was going to do what with each animal. They had a side of beef, 3 pigs, 4 lambs, 5 goats and 12 chickens- I hope I got those numbers correct.
We then got to go to one of kitchens and the fun began. It was amazing to watch these chefs and butchers working together and deciding what they wanted to do with the different animals. One of the main premises is whole animal utilization so when I say every part was utilized I mean very part was utilized!! It was amazing. We saw everything from techniques to sausage making to making bologna.
On Monday evening we enjoyed grilled pork and beef along with some of the GPI chefs specialities.....pickled vegetables, macaroni & cheese , bread pudding and more!
After supper we met on one of the terraces and haddiscussion time. I don't know what time they ended but it was after 1 AM before me and Lee headed to our room.
Sadly, we had to leave on Tuesday morning and get back to reality. We met so many people and hope that we are able to participate in something like this again!!
Thanks to the Grove Park Inn and especially the chefs and their staff.
Thanks to Brady & Anthony of Protein University for giving us the opportunity to participate.
Thanks to all the new friends that we met while we were there.
Please visit the Protein University website.
PROTEIN U is an online resource and video library created by a network of chefs and butchers all interactively sharing their skills. Our goal is to support responsible farms and promote heritage species of livestock. By creating an online resource populated by peers, we hope to develop a visual family tree of butchery techniques from across the globe. By entering one of our contests or uploading a video on YouTube, you are directly supporting farmers and businesses.

Learning more about whole animal utilization is a step in the right direction to sustainable living and respect for the animal. Join the conversation and help us create this community, share your techniques and learn from a network of passionate people in today’s food scene. Explore the website regularly as the content will be frequently updated. Connecting to our Facebook and Twitter is a great way to keep the pulse on new videos, events and contests.
Pictures posted on Facebook

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wild Turkey Farms- September 10, 2010

Wild Turkey Farms News- Sept 10, 2010

HICKORY SMOKED BACON & HOT DOGS ARE BACK Just picked up a fresh batch of our hot dogs (both the fat & skinny ones) as well as our German brats.

Our "WTF" T Shirts are finally here!!! Come get yours while they last. Only $15 ea- XL, L, M, S available

Not much to report from the farm front this week. We've enjoyed the cool & dry weather, it's been perfect hay making weather, just too bad our big tractor has been in the shop for the last 2 weeks. Last weeks adventure to Protein University has inspired me to do some playing around this week. I dusted off my charcuterie recipe book and have been experimenting with a few items. This week I made my first Tasso Ham and finished it off by smoking it on the grill, delicious!!! Can't wait to make a big pot of greens with it in there. For several years I've tried unsuccessfully to make a good puffy pork rind but thanks to some tips from the chefs at Protein U I was able to make a whole bag of them perfectly. I did manage to save a small (and I mean small) bag for Domisty to try. I've also salted some jowls down to make smoked jowl bacon & thawed some fat to make lardo. For those of you that have not had the culinary ! pleasure of trying some lardo, don't let the unappealing name fool you. Lardo is thick fatback that has been cured with salt & herbs for 3 weeks and then washed, dried, and hung in a cool dark corner to age for another 4 weeks. Sounds like a lot of trouble for a little pig fat to put on a cracker but it's worth it, once cured it keeps forever. We like to slice it as thin as possible and drizzle olive oil over it, then sprinkle with coarse sea salt & cracked black pepper on a cracker or toasted slice of french baguette.

We did manage to spend some time in the garden on Monday while everyone was off of work & out of school. We got a few fall items planted such as collards, turnip, & mustard greens, spinach, beets, kale, and probably a few other things that are slipping my mind right now. When it comes to gardening I have a habit of just opening up the seed box & planting until I run out without much planning but that works ok for us. Sometimes the rows are get way longer than they need to be and sometimes they're a bit too short. What we don't grow we manage to get from our market friends like the Corrells. Domisty doesn't let anything go to waste as she has worked really hard the past several years getting good at canning and keeps us eating great food year round.


Put some WTF in your kids lunch box. Try our new Bologna. Made from our premium Berkshire pork without all the nitrates & fillers like the store bought stuff. We've had a small batch made so give it a try & let us know what you think. It already carries an endorsement from Rosty & Charlie.


We will NOT be at the China Grove Market this week. If you need anything just give us a call & come to the farm to pick it up.

The China Grove Farmers Market at the Mill has been extended and will run through Friday October 15.

Davidson Farmer's Market (8am-noon). We're in the Town Hall parking lot working out of our big white trailer just up hill of our friends at Correll Farms.

We'll be at the Salisbury Farmers Market tomorrow so come find us under the big green tent (once again just up hill from our friends at Correll Farms) 7am-noon so come on out and load up.


Volunteer Opportunities-


Don't forget to pick up your tickets for the Know Your Farms Annual Farm Tour Sept 18 & 19. This years tour features 27 farms all across the Piedmont. For details check out their website. http://knowyourfarms.com/j/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=99:annual-farm-tour-new

We hope that you'll support some of the chefs & businesses that support us & other local farmers.
Black Mountain Farmers Market- Black Mountain
Chef Charles Catering - Charlotte/ DFM
Hippie Kitchen Bakery- Huntersville / DFM
Know Your Farms Buying Club- Davidson/Charlotte
Customshop Restaurant- Charlotte
Flat Iron Restaurant- Davidson
Watts Grocery- Durham
Sage & Swift Catering- Durham
Four Friends Brewing- Charlotte


Thanks for your support, have a great weekend, and we'll see you at the market.

Lee, Domisty, Rosty, & Charlie
Wild Turkey Farms
China Grove, NC
704-202-9348


Website update- We are back up & going. Actually you should be redirected to our blog when you go to www.wildturkeyfarms.com If you are still having trouble accessing it please let us know.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wild Turkey Farms News- September 3, 2010

Wild Turkey Farms News- Sept 3, 2010

HOTDOGS ARE BACK Just picked up a fresh batch of our hotdogs (both the fat & skinny ones) as well as our German brats.

All star Charcuterie weekend at the Grove Park Inn- This was definitely a weekend for the record books at Wild Turkey Farms. We participated in Protein University this week which was an event that brought the some of the best whole animal chefs and butchers from across the country to the historic Grove Park Inn in Asheville. Of course in the quest to source the finest in local animals they contacted us for one of our Berkshire pigs. In exchange for providing a pig we got to spend 3 days with the butchers and chefs as they coached the GPI chefs how to utilize everything but the squeal, moo, & baa from whole animals. We also got to network with other farmers from NC, Alabama, & Missouri which was a great learning experience. We loved getting to know all of the Chefs from the GPI and see the dedication and passion that they bring to their work but the best part was definitely eating 3 meals a day that they'd prepared- gourmet quality all the way!!!



Wild Turkey Farms Berkshire hog halves on either side of another pig at Protein U.

Check us out on Facebook & the blog for more pics over the weekend.

Labor Day Grilling Special- Enjoy grilling some delicious WTF meats with friends and family this weekend
Brats & Burger Pack $9 - Get 1 Pack of Famous American Brats & 1 Pack of our Grass Fed Beef Hamburgers or Ground Beef
Dogs & Burger Pack $11- Get 1 Pack of our All Natural Nitrate free hotdogs & 1 Pack of our Grass Fed Beef Hamburgers or Ground Beef



We'll have fresh chicken available at China Grove this evening and at Davidson & Salisbury Farmers Markets in the morning. Come early as quantities will be limited.


We will be at the China Grove Farmers Market at the Mill Friday from 4-7pm so come see us for all of your meat needs. Only 2 more China Grove markets to go so come stock up.

Davidson Farmer's Market (8am-noon). We're in the Town Hall parking lot working out of our big white trailer just up hill of our friends at Correll Farms.

We'll be at the Salisbury Farmers Market tomorrow so come find us under the big green tent (once again just up hill from our friends at Correll Farms) 7am-noon so come on out and load up.


Volunteer Opportunities- Ever want to get out & get a taste farm life for a day or just an afternoon. We have several projects that we need to extra hands to complete and would love to offer you the opportunity to come help. If you are interested just let me know & we'll add you to the list to contact. We going to plan some a couple volunteer days in Sept & October. Some of the projects include building a hoop shelter for the hogs, building fence, building chicken tractors, and whatever other projects pop up between now and then.

Don't forget to pick up your tickets for the Know Your Farms Annual Farm Tour Sept 18 & 19. This years tour features 27 farms all across the Piedmont. For details check out their website. http://knowyourfarms.com/j/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=99:annual-farm-tour-new

We hope that you'll support some of the chefs & businesses that support us & other local farmers.
Black Mountain Farmers Market- Black Mountain
Chef Charles Catering - Charlotte/ DFM
Hippie Kitchen Bakery- Huntersville / DFM
Know Your Farms Buying Club- Davidson/Charlotte
Customshop Restaurant- Charlotte
Watts Grocery- Durham
Sage & Swift Catering- Durham
Four Friends Brewing- Charlotte


Thanks for your support, have a great weekend, and we'll see you at the market.

Lee, Domisty, Rosty, & Charlie
Wild Turkey Farms
China Grove, NC

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Check out some of our friends

Please take the time to check out some of our friends blogs.
Gluten Free Kids Rock-
R.O.C.K (Raising Our Celiac Kids)- A support group for families with Celiac Disease or living a gluten-free lifestyle.
Scarlett's Homestead Letters-
This site has letters written to you; sharing my experiences and advise to help you get started in your country living, backyard homesteading journey and other do-it-yourself activities. You will find recipes, natural health issues and many other things people who are independent minded enjoy. I refuse to limit what we talk about!
The Pasta Wench-
Pasta Wench is a small family owned company nestled in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of Boone NC and Swannanoa, NC. We create all-natural Gourmet Pasta including Ravioli, Fettuccini, Cavatelli, and Spaghetti, as well as homemade gourmet sauces to accompany them.

Friday, August 20, 2010

WTF Newsletter- August 20, 2010

Wild Turkey Farms News- August 20, 2010

Well another week of summer has flown by. With all of the heat & humidity I've got to admit I'm ready for a little bit of fall weather to get here. At least we've been blessed with good rains this summer to keep everything green & growing. Hopefully we'll get the tractor up & running and get some hay cut this week so we'll have at least a little something to feed the cows through the winter. We've got our turkeys up & growing even though we've had the toughest year yet in raising them. I think this heat & humidity makes it hard to keep conditions perfect for the poults and they are extremely sensitive during the first month of life. We started out with 150 and at last count were down to about 60. With all of the enthusiasm in our turkeys we don't want to disappoint. We ordered another 50 that arrived this week and appear to be doing well but keep your fingers crossed and let's hope that they continue to ! do well.


Volunteer Opportunities- Ever want to get out & get a taste farm life for a day or just an afternoon. We have several projects that we need to extra hands to complete and would love to offer you the opportunity to come help. If you are interested just let me know & we'll add you to the list to contact. We going to plan some a couple volunteer days in Sept & October. Some of the projects include building a hoop shelter for the hogs, building fence, building chicken tractors, and whatever other projects pop up between now and then.

Don't forget to get your tickets for the Know Your Farms Annual Farm Tour Sept 18 & 19. This years tour features 27 farms all across the Piedmont. For details check out their website. http://knowyourfarms.com/j/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=99:annual-farm-tour-new


Eggs- We have plenty of eggs now so bring a couple friends and come see us at the farmers markets this weekend for a dozen of our free range organically raised eggs.

This weeks specials- Help us make some room in the freezers & get a great deal

Maple & Mild Breakfast Patties & Bulk Sausage 10% off

Beef Short Ribs- 20% Great meal that can be prepared a variety of ways. In the crock pot or on the grill these are sure to please.

Beef Soup Bones- $3/bag or 2 for $4- We're over stocked so our loss is your gain. Makes a great beef broth or a great "popsicle" treat for your pooch on a hot summer day.

We plan to process some chickens this evening so we'll have a few whole fresh chickens available at Davidson & Salisbury Farmers Markets in the morning. Come early for the fresh birds as quantities will be limited. We should also have some leg quarter and wing packs available.

We will be at the China Grove Farmers Market at the Mill Friday from 4-7pm so come see us for all of your meat needs.

Davidson Farmer's Market (8am-noon). We're in the Town Hall parking lot working out of our big white trailer just up hill of our friends at Correll Farms. Come pick up something to throw on the grill or get a couple packs of sausage & a dz eggs and treat yourself to a fresh local breakfast Sunday morning.

We'll be at the Salisbury Farmers Market tomorrow so come find us under the big green tent (once again just up hill from our friends at Correll Farms) 7am-noon so come on out and load up.



We hope that you'll support some of the chefs & businesses that support us & other local farmers.
Black Mountain Farmers Market- Black Mountain
Chef Charles Catering - Charlotte/ DFM
Hippie Kitchen Bakery- Huntersville / DFM
Know Your Farms Buying Club- Davidson/Charlotte
Customshop Restaurant- Charlotte
Watts Grocery- Durham
Sage & Swift Catering- Durham
Four Friends Brewing- Charlotte


Thanks for your support, have a great weekend, and we'll see you at the market.

Lee, Domisty, Rosty, & Charlie
Wild Turkey Farms
China Grove, NC

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A good reason to buy local

380 million eggs recalled over possible salmonella tainting
By Caitlin Hagan, CNN


August 19, 2010 7:18 a.m. EDT
-- A voluntary recall of eggs because of salmonella fears reached 380 million eggs Wednesday, the Egg Safety Center said.
Wright County Egg of Galt, Iowa, which announced an earlier recall last week, added several more batches and brands to the recall Wednesday afternoon.
"Wright County Egg is fully cooperating with FDA's investigation by undertaking this voluntary recall," the company said in a statement. "Our primary concern is keeping salmonella out of the food supply and away from consumers. As a precautionary measure, Wright County Egg also has decided to divert its existing inventory of shell eggs from the recalled plants to a breaker, where they will be pasteurized to kill any salmonella bacteria present."
After an uptick in salmonella infections, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration traced the source and determined it was most likely eggs from Wright County Egg. The company says it is working to determine how the shell eggs are being contaminated.



The new recall covers eggs branded as Albertsons, Farm Fresh, James Farms, Glenview, Mountain Dairy, Ralphs, Boomsma, Lund, Kemps and Pacific Coast and are marked with a three-digit code ranging from 136 to 229 and plant numbers 1720 and 1942, the company said.
The earlier recall covered the Lucerne, Albertsons, Mountain Dairy, Ralph's, Boomsma's, Sunshine, Hillandale, Trafficanda, Farm Fresh, Shoreland, Lund, Dutch Farms and Kemps brands and are marked with a three-digit code ranging from 136 to 225 and plant numbers 1026, 1413 and 1946.
The plant number beings with "P - " and is followed by the three-digit code.
Both recalls affect eggs packed in several different sized cartons, from a half-dozen to 18-eggs. Only shell eggs are affected by the recall, the company said.
Consumers are encouraged to return the eggs in their original packaging to where they were purchased for a full refund.
Salmonella bacteria can be found inside and outside of eggs that appear to be normal.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pictures


Everybody loves to see pictures of the farm & the animals. So here are a few I took last night. By the time we checked on the checked on the cows it was too dark for pictures but hopefully I'll get some pictures of them later this week.

Bandit (Border Collie)


Panda Bear (Border Collie)







Poundcake
This is the baby lamb that we bottle-fed & who lived with us the first month of her life. She is now a resident at the farm and she is adjusting to farm life.

Another lamb at the farm













Pigs











Laying Hens













My Future Farmer!!
He is helping to load feed buckets.

Friday, August 13, 2010

WTF Newsletter- August 13, 2010

Wild Turkey Farms News- August 13, 2010

It's late & it's been a long week. Here it is 10:15pm on Thursday night & I've been going at it since the alarm clock went off at 5:20 this morning and it's been this way all week. That wouldn't be all that bad if we could get caught up but that's part of the joys of farming. To say that this past week has been a whirlwind for us may be an understatement, perhaps it was more of a tornado.

Last Friday we were invited by Chef Dave Hummelberger (Dave I hoped I got the spelling right) to attend a Slow Food Dinner at Noble's Restaurant in Charlotte. This was quite an invite for us since fine Friday night dining for us usually means picking up a pizza from the Stag & Doe somewhere between leaving the China Grove Market @ 7pm & getting ready for the morning markets until midnight so we worked hard to make it work out to go. Dave had gotten some bone in chops from us to prepare for the dinner & let me tell you he did them up right. I can say without hesitation that was the best damn pork chop ever fixed in North Carolina. Dave did an excellent job with not only that but all of the courses of the meal. It was a real treat to get to dine like that- thanks. We got home about midnight.

Saturday morning's plans went to pieces quickly with the passing of my grandfather about 6am but we regrouped and improvised to make the most of the day. Sorry to leave all of you at Salisbury without your WTF fix for the week. Domisty ended up going to the Davidson Farmers Market while Rosty & I participated in the Gluten Free expo at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte and got to meet and talk with a lot of great people.

By the time we got home about 4pm a quick nap was in order. As I laid down on the bed I heard my cell phone ring & somehow I got a sinking feeling that it wasn't going to be good news. It was our neighbor at the farm letting me know that for the 2nd Saturday in a row we had a few pigs coming to visit him. For those of you without pigs I can let you know that neighbors generally don't like visiting pigs unless they are cooked. So at 4:30 we rounded up the kids and head to the farm for a pig round up. We got the last of the wild pigs on the trailer about 9pm and decided to call it a night. As I lay there in bed, too tired to go to sleep (not a problem for Domisty) I kept thinking "why the hell do I keep doing this?" then I'd remember that pork chop grilled to perfection at Noble's a meer 24hours earlier- oh yeah. Rosty summed it up best at 3 years old when he told me at ! supper one night "Daddy, we raise a dang good pig". That's what we're after, to raise a dang good pig (and other stuff too).


We will be at the China Grove Farmers Market at the Mill Friday from 4-7pm (or maybe until about 6:15) so come see us for all of your meat needs.

Davidson Farmer's Market (8am-noon). We're in the Town Hall parking lot working out of our big white trailer just up hill of our friends at Correll Farms. Come pick up something to throw on the grill or get a couple packs of sausage & a dz eggs and treat yourself to a fresh local breakfast Sunday morning.

We'll be at the Salisbury Farmers Market tomorrow so come find us under the big green tent (once again just up hill from our friends at Correll Farms) 7am-noon so come on out and load up.



We hope that you'll support some of the chefs & businesses that support us & other local farmers.
Black Mountain Farmers Market- Black Mountain
Chef Charles Catering - Charlotte/ DFM
Chef Charles To Go- Davidson
Hippie Kitchen Bakery- Huntersville / DFM
Know Your Farms Buying Club- Davidson/Charlotte
Customshop Restaurant- Charlotte
Weaver St Market- Hillsborough/ Carborro/ Chapel Hill
Whirling Whisk Bakery- Mooresville
Watts Grocery- Durham
Sage & Swift Catering- Durham

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Slow Food Diner- August 6, 2010

Well, I started this entry last Saturday but as you can see it has been almost a week and it was never finished......
If you receive our newsletter you've already read about our crazy week. If not I will post it later today. But thank you all for the thoughts and prayers we received this week. Lee's grandfather will be missed by all of us.
Again, to our Salisbury customers sorry we were not at the Market last week-end but we will be there tomorrow.
Me & Lee had the opportunity to attend a Slow Food Dinner at Noble's Restaurant last Friday night. The food was phenomeneal. If you are not familiar with Slow Food check out their website (http://slowfoodcharlotte.org/).
We got an opportunity to meet some of the other farmers, catch up with some of our friends involved with the Slow Food Charlotte movement and meet some new friends. Best of all was the meal. Chef Dave did an excellent job.
The following is the menu from the meal:
FIRST COURSE


Tega Hills Micro Green Salad, Assorted Local Tomatoes, Heirloom Tomato Conserve, Bosky Acres Feta



SECOND COURSE


TRIO OF JACIC MUSHROOMS


Sauteed Oyster Mushrooms with Ratatouille


Shitake Soup with Savory Foam


Roasted Maitakes with Fisher Farm Potato Puree & Thyme-Mushroom Jus


THIRD COURSE


Pan-seared Sunburst Trout, Newton Farms Ossabow Ham Consomme, Pink-eyed Peas, Simpson's Produce Tender Greens, Heirloom Tomato Chips




FOURTH COURSE


Grilled Wild Turkey Farms Berkshire Pork Chops, Seared Anson Mills Polenta, North Carolina String Beans, South Carolina Peach Butter, Toasted Anson Mills Farro Piccolo, Peach-Pork-Jus

FIFTH COURSE

Fried Bosky Acres Chevre-Stuffed Squash Blossoms, Compressed Local Melons, North Carolina Figs, Rosemary Pete Mint Varietals




Monday, August 2, 2010

My weekend- Friday & Saturday

Here is a recap of our week-end:
Friday
5:30-
Wake up
7:30 - 5:00-
Work
5:15- 6:30-
China Grove Farmer's Market
6:30- 7:00-
Supper
7:00-8:30-
Feed/water the animals
8:30-10:45
Prepare for Farmer's Market
(this is actually an early night)
10:45-
Go to bed!!
Saturday
5:00-
Wake up
5:30 - 6:30-
Load van for Farmer's Market
6:30 - 7:00-
Arrive at Market & set up
7:00 - 12 noon-
Farmer's Market
12 noon- 1:30-
Unload from Market & fixed a local lunch
Tomatoes (Correll Farms), Mozzarella (Calico Dairy) & Basil (my herb garden)
Tomato Basil Bread (The Bread Basket)
1:30 - 2:30-
Power nap
2:30 - 3:30-
Run errands
3:30 - 7:30
At farm
7:30-
Shower
Start Supper
8:30-
Enjoyed a nice local meal
Ribeyes- Wild Turkey Farms
Grilled Corn-Wild Turkey Farms
Grilled Potatoes- Wild Turkey Farms
Grilled Sourdough Bread- The Bread Basket
Watermelon- Correll Farms
Grilled Peaches- Huffman Farms
and believe it or not we ate all of that food!!
Now you have a small glimpse into our busy schedule.

Friday, July 30, 2010

My Day- Thursday

I get asked a lot of questions at the Farmer's Market every week. They range from "How did you get into farming?" to "Doesn't it bother you to eat the animals after you raised them?" But something I hear a lot is "How do you do it all?" My answer is that we just do it. I don't know what it is like to come home and sit on the couch and watch TV because we have never done that. My day starts at 5:30 am and ends about 10:00 pm.
Here was my day yesterday:
5:30-
Wake up
7:30 -5:00-
Work my paying job
5:00 - 7:00-
Supper
Laundry/Dishes
Wash/Dry/Crate Eggs
7:00 - 10:00-
Feed & water animals
Process chickens for the Farmer's Market
10:00- 11:00-
More Laundry
Lights out
and then my day started all over again......


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cupcake...Then & Now

If you receive our newsletter, frequent our Facebook page, attended our 2009 Farm Tour or just know us then you probably know about Cupcake.
If not....
Cupcake was a baby lamb that was rejected by her mom last year and we bottle-raised her until she was ready to go out with the other sheep.
Here is a picture of Cupcake last year when she was only a day or two old.





Here is Cupcake last week.
As you can tell she is rotten!! Eating out of Rosty's hand.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Raleigh News & Observer story

I have been planning to blog about our MPU (mobile processing unit) but thought I would wait until this article came out. so sometime this week look for an exciting blog about how our broilers are raised and the MPU.
If you have time visit the Raleigh News & Observer site (link at bottom) and look at the gallery with the pictures.
Mobile slaughterhouse will help small farmers
BY ANDREA WEIGL - Staff Writer

For Lee Menius to sell pasture-raised chicken at local farmers markets, he used to drive 150 miles round trip from his farm near Salisbury to Siler City, home of the state's only poultry slaughterhouse. To pick up the packaged meat, he had to repeat the trip. Now Menius just parks a mobile slaughterhouse in his driveway.
Last year, Menius was awarded an $8,000 private grant to build a mobile poultry slaughterhouse on a trailer that can be pulled behind his pickup. He rents the unit to other farmers for $45 to $100 a day depending on how far they live from his Wild Turkey Farms in China Grove, about 140 miles west of Raleigh.
The state's farmers are turning to endeavors like Menius' mobile slaughterhouse as they try to navigate the obstacles to getting their food into consumers' hands.
It's crucial now with high demand for locally raised meats fueled by E. coli scares and salmonella recalls, films and books about industrial agriculture's impact on the environment and just a basic desire to know where their food comes from.
As a result, crowded farmers markets have sprung up inside subdivisions and outside shopping malls. Restaurant menus list the farmer who grew the heirloom tomatoes, the cheese maker who made the mozzarella, the farm the pig roamed before it became a pork chop dinner.
Though local meat sales are not available, sales in natural and organic meat are expected to increase at an annual rate of 11.3 percent through 2012, according to N.C. Choices, a group that works with farmers who own pasture-raised animals. One local sign of the demand for local meat is the number of farmers who are registered meat handlers, which is required for them to sell directly to consumers. In 2002, there was one such North Carolina farmer. Now there are 366.
As demand has increased, small-scale independent farmers have struggled. North Carolina lacks the infrastructure they need to get their animals and birds slaughtered, processed and packaged for retail to compete with the Smithfields and Tysons of the world.
Mobile units may help farmers until more slaughterhouses are built and the ones already operating improve. With more access to slaughterhouses, more farmers could raise animals. That would give consumers more choice and might lower the price of local beef, pork and poultry, which at $4 a pound can cause sticker shock for a Food Lion shopper.
Not enough plants
There is only one slaughterhouse for poultry in the state. There are 45 slaughterhouses and meat-processing plants that will handle these farmers' "red meat," which includes cattle, hogs, goats, lambs, sheep, buffalo and ostriches. But only eight of them will both slaughter and butcher a wide range of those animals, will package the meat with the farmer's logo on the label and are approved to have their products sold in state as well as out of state.
Only two slaughterhouses - both about 120 miles east of Raleigh - will cure and smoke the meat. To turn their pork bellies into bacon, farmers have to go there.

Long trips needed
That forces farmers, particularly those outside the Piedmont, to travel hundreds of miles to get their animals slaughtered and processed to sell at farmers markets.
Once a week, Genell Pridgen, a seventh-generation farmer who owns Rainbow Meadow Farms in Snow Hill, or her 66-year-old mother gets up at 3 a.m. to drive the birds to Siler City for slaughter and processing. Two days later, a return trip is needed to pick up the meat.
"You are constantly on the road," she says. "You can't get any farming done."
Menius' mobile poultry slaughterhouse, the second one in the state, isn't a solution to the problem but maybe a bandage.
McDowell County plant
Since the state's other mobile poultry slaughterhouse, in McDowell County, opened in 2008, it has enabled farmers to slaughter birds as they built their flocks in preparation for a brick-and-mortar poultry and rabbit slaughterhouse to open there in 2011. Casey McKissick, a farmer who maintains that mobile unit at his Crooked Creek Farms in Flat Rock, says it generated $30,000 of new income for farmers in 2008, and that's likely tripled since that first year.
"It's not the silver bullet," McKissick says of the mobile unit. "But it's one thing that helps while the infrastructure is catching up with the market for local meats."
Menius and other local food supporters hope that transition from mobile stopgap to permanent infrastructure can happen all over the state. McKissick said there has been talk of passing the mobile slaughterhouse to another area of the state once the McDowell facility opens. In addition to the McDowell slaughterhouse, state officials say, about half a dozen new facilities could open in the next 18 months.

Learning how
Last month, about two dozen farmers traveled to Menius' farm to learn how to slaughter birds using the open-air trailer. They watched as Menius and several helpers slaughtered half a dozen chickens.
At the back of the trailer, a chest-high railing is mounted with a row of upside down orange traffic cones. The narrow end of the cones are cut wider to hold the chicken's head. Birds are placed head first into a traffic cone, stunned and then have their throats cut. Blood drains into a trough and is collected in a bucket to be later composted along with the bird's feathers and entrails.
The dead bird is dunked in the "scalder," where hot water loosens its feathers, then placed in the "plucker," which removes all the feathers. The bird emerges naked, looking a lot like a chicken at the grocery store. The bird's head, feet and internal organs are removed. It is placed in a cooler filled with ice, awaiting vacuum-packaging and labeling.
Among the farmers looking on was Anna Mann of Chestnut of Ridge Farms in Mount Airy. As she watched the chicken slaughter assembly line, she tried to mentally calculate: How many chickens would she need to slaughter to make renting this mobile unit worthwhile? "This is a good start," she says.
For years, farmers have followed the federal law that allows them to slaughter up to 1,000 birds a year on their farm if they didn't have a building for slaughtering on their property. On Thursday, a state official attending a statewide food policy meeting said the number was dramatically more - 20,000 birds. That increase could make mobile units even more attractive for farmers.
Only plant for poultry
Until they get mobile units, farmers will continue to haul their birds to Chaudhry Halal Meats in Siler City, the state's only poultry slaughterhouse and processing plant with a federal inspector on site.
The owner, Abdul Chaudhry, says he spent $850,000 to build the 5,000-square-foot poultry facility three years ago and it has yet to break even. Finally, there is enough demand that the plant is slaughtering up to 1,000 birds a week. He charges farmers $3 to slaughter a bird and $1.50 to cut it into parts.
Not all farmers want to use a mobile unit to do on-farm slaughtering. Gary Murray, who owns Sunset Farms in Alamance County, was waiting to unload chickens on a recent Monday at Chaudhry's plant. He says there's too much risk a consumer will get sick from a home-slaughtered chicken.
"Even if we could do our own birds, it's a liability thing," he says.
Besides, the Carrboro and Durham farmers markets where he and his son, Chris, sell won't allow them to sell chickens slaughtered at their farm.
Red meat restrictions
Federal law does not allow farmers to sell any "red meat" - pork, beef, goat, lamb, and so forth - unless it has been slaughtered at a USDA-inspected slaughterhouse. But the plants that offer that are few and far between.
"The problem really is geographic locations," says Donald Delozier, the state director of the Meat and Poultry Inspection Division of the state agriculture department. In North Carolina, there is only one such plant west of Asheville. Of the eight plants that offer most of what farmers want, there are none in the Triangle; the closest three are in Caswell, Rockingham and Moore counties.
Delozier later added: "When I go out west, I hear a battle cry [for more facilities]. Those people are going to Georgia and Tennessee to do slaughter and processing."
There are a few mobile "red meat" slaughterhouses - 53-foot tractor-trailers, in fact, with a federal inspector on board - operating in the Pacific Northwest and Northeast.

A bumpy transition
In North Carolina, the handful of slaughterhouses and processing facilities that small-scale farmers frequent have adapted to these farmers' needs. Both sides acknowledge that the transition has not been easy.
It can take months to sort out and get government approval of the labels for each farmer's products from steaks to ground beef. Cuts and processing don't always turn out as requested. One farmer asked a processor to grind bottom round roast so he could sell it as lean ground round, which sells for several dollars more per pound than ground beef. The processor mistakenly labeled it ground beef, which cost the farmer a couple of hundred dollars. Another facility packaged a farmers' steaks all in one package as opposed to individually, making them more difficult to sell.
A costly lesson
Pridgen, the Snow Hill farmer, says when she first took lambs to be slaughtered and processed, the workers trimmed the racks of lamb too much, making them unsellable. At $16.99 a pound retail, it is the most expensive piece of meat on that animal, Pridgen says. She ended up giving those racks to a restaurant, losing several hundred dollars. "A small farmer can't afford to do that," Pridgen says.
After that, she took her lambs to Acre Station slaughterhouse in Pinetown, which had never slaughtered or butchered lambs before. They learned how to slaughter the animals, and Pridgen says she taught them how to break down the animal, especially how to cut racks of lamb.
"We're learning from the farmers and they are learning from us," says Richard Huettmann, who oversees the slaughterhouse and processing at Acre Station

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Meet Domisty Menius (from the Salisbury Post)

During the Market season the Salisbury Post has been profiling a vendor/farmer weekly. This week was our week. Sue did a great job on the article!
Farmers Market update
By Sue Davis
For The Salisbury Post
Summer color is what the Farmers Market is about this week. Lee Ly, Bluebird Acres Farm and Mrs.Wang have bouquets of summer flowers. For as little as a dollar you can take home a small short stem bouquet of zinnias, sunflowers, dahlias and cosmos. Larger bouquets are $10. All three growers will help you choose your flowers and create a bouquet for you. Both Bluebird Farms and Mrs. Wang are hoping the delicate tuberoses will be open by Saturday.Sweet and hot peppers rival the flowers in color and shapes. One new pepper is a sweet Mini Bell Pepper in reds, greens and yellows. If you are making a salad or small salsa requiring a little bell pepper, these tiny gems are just perfect. You can chop one pepper and get a quarter cup or less. They make a colorful addition to any dish without sacrificing freshness. A larger pepper with a different taste from bell pepper is the colorful Cubano. I added a bit of Cubano to Correll Farm’s Corn Salad recipe to add color and a hint of warmth. You can find a wide variety of hot peppers from the hottest habanero to the common jalapeno at several vendors. Eagle Farm has roasting peppers and several varieties of hot and mild peppers.Saturday morning at 9, Toi Degree from the Extension Office will demonstrate Cooking with Corn. She will how you how to make cheesy corn quesadillas using fresh ingredients available at the market.
Meet DomistyMenius
Wild Turkey Farms, a small family farm in China Grove, is owned by Lee and Domisty Menius. The couple met at N.C. State University where they completed animal science degrees. Domisty feels her grandfather, who inspired her to become involved in animal science, would be proud of where she is today. Lee gave Domisty a piglet, Clementine, for Mother’s Day several years ago. Clementine affirmed their interest in raising livestock for sale in the community.
Life for the Menius family revolves around the farm. The two boys, Rosty and Charlie, are growing up with a full understanding of the life cycle on the farm. They help with feeding and watering the animals every afternoon. Domisty, who works a demanding job with NCDOT, enjoys reading mysteries for pleasure. She loves to cook and can as a creative expression and as a reminder of the pleasure she gets from being part of the local farmers markets. Both she and Lee are active with their children’s schools and with community activities. If a local event has to do with promoting sustainable farming, you will find the Menius Family involved. The family enjoys having people tour their farm. When you stop by to purchase steak, chops, eggs and sausage ask Domisty, “What’s new?” You will be intrigued by what she will tell you about the animals and the family.
For more information about the Farmers Market visit www.salisburyfarmersmarket.com. The Farmers Market is located in downtown Salisbury at the corner of South Main and Bank streets. Visit the Farmers Market Wednesdays from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. and Saturdays from 7 a.m. until noon.