Thursday, March 31, 2011

The eggs are hatching

Well, Marty is a big brother.

The first egg has hatched. We think another should hatch today. As we gathered the eggs we marked the date they were found on them. This way we would know when the eggs were ready to hatch.

Here are some pictures of the baby goose along with 2 proud big brothers!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Carolina Meat Conference

This past week-end was the first Carolina Meat Conference held in Concord, North Carolina.

While we were unable to be there all week-end Lee was a participant on Sunday in the Session on Setting Up an Outdoor, Pasture-Based Hog Operation (see below):

Setting Up an Outdoor, Pasture-Based Hog Operation Demand for pasture-raised pork continues to increase. This workshop is intended for farmers new to raising hogs outdoors. A panel of experts will share critical information about start-up and maintenance costs, equipment needs, labor requirements and marketing strategies.

Lee Menius, Wild Turkey Farms, China Grove, NC Dr. Niki Whitley, NC A&T University, Department of Animal Science & CEFS Swine Unit Coordinator Renee Parker, Parker Farms, Hurdle Mills, NC Bailey Newton, Triple B Farm, Bullock, NC Jeremiah Jones, President, NC Natural Hog Growers Association, Grassroots Pork Co, Beulaville, NC Moderator: Chris Bordeaux, CEFS’ Conservation Innovation Project

and the Pastured Poultry Genetics & Mobile Processing Demonstration (see below):

Pastured Poultry Genetics and Mobile Processing Demonstration This workshop is for new and experienced poultry producers. Local pastured poultry experts present findings on the impact of outdoor access and genotype on pastured broiler performance, meat quality, and sensory attributes, including a recent carcass evaluation comparing fast-growing Cornish Cross to a slower-growing hybrid “Freedom Ranger.” Representatives from NC’s two inspected poultry processing facilities will be available for questions about their facilities and services.

This will be followed by a demonstration of best management practices for on-farm slaughter of poultry, including small-scale humane stunning and a discussion of enterprise budgets for building your own rentable Mobile Processing Unit for exempt, on-farm poultry processing in North Carolina.

The Wild Turkey Farms Mobile Processing Unit will be on-site.

Dr. Doug Smith, Associate Professor, NC State University Dr. Anne Fanatico, Assistant Professor, Goodnight Family Sustainable Development Program, Appalachian State University,Boone, NC Lee Menius, Wild Turkey Farms, China Grove, NC Renee Elkins, Chaudhry Halal Meat Processing, Siler City, NC Smithson Mills, McDowell Foothills Pilot Plant, Marion, NC

First, let me say that the Conference was great! It was very informative, I saw a lot of old friends & met some new friends. The food was delicious! On Sunday lunch was provided by the Farmhand Foods Sausage Wagon. If your in the Durham area you must find them!! I had the polish sausage with pimento cheese...yummy!

The MPU demonstration went well. It had been raining & it was cold so we only "dispatched" two birds but thanks to all who braved the conditions & were out there for the demo.

Friday, March 25, 2011

WTF News- March 25, 2011

Wild Turkey Farms News- March 25, 2011

We picked up beef last week so stop by and load up on our 100% Grass Fed Angus Beef while it last.

Davidson Farmers Market This Weekend 9-noon
We'll be at Davidson this weekend so come by & stock up. The warm weather has perked up the chickens and we have eggs out the wazoo so come by & get your fresh eggs from us. An end to the winter blues is in sight- Davidson FM will start back to everyweek and summer hours starting April 9!!!!

***New Market in Charlotte***- We're planning to expand our market this weekend and we'll be at the Mecklenburg County Farm Market ( ) from 9:30-12. Domisty will be there with eggs and a limited selection of meats so if you'd like to place an order to pick up there please email it to us by this evening.

Salisbury Farmers Market starts up April 16 & we're looking for some help/ volunteer(s)/ part time employee. What better way to spend a Saturday than socializing with friends, enjoying the outdoors in downtown Salisbury, and getting good WTF food for your efforts. We're running short on man & woman power this summer so we're looking for help to cover the SFM. If you or someone you know would be interested in working SFM on saturdays please contact us and we'll go from there.

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

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

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Honoring the Food Animals On Your Plate (Dan Imhoff)

Honoring The Food Animals On Your Plate
Dan Imhoff
Author, "CAFO"
Posted: February 21, 2011 04:03 PM
From the cream in our Monday morning coffee to the roast chicken at Sunday night dinner, we accrue an incalculable debt to food animals. We depend on them for nourishment. We gather festively around the cooking of a turkey or ham during holidays. Yet many people do not realize that most of the animals that grace our tables are the victims of harsh suffering long before slaughter.
Consider the modern turkey. It is far removed from the wild, native bird that the pilgrims roasted for those original Thanksgiving gatherings. Today's conventional turkey, the Broad Breasted White, is an entirely industrial creature. It is bred to grow freakishly quickly and raised on grain inside massive buildings. Most male turkeys, or Toms, become so breast heavy, they can barely stand up -- and certainly can't reproduce. Artificial insemination is the only way this man-made species survives.
As CAFOs take over the food system, it is clear that there is already plenty of animal protein in our diets. Americans now eat an average of 33 pounds of cheese each year, for example, largely because of the flood of cheap milk coming from dairy CAFOs. This is three times the per capita consumption of the 1970s. Cheese is the largest source of saturated fats in our diets, which tend to raise cholesterol levels and are linked to heart disease. Dairy products, meat, poultry, and eggs don't have to be nearly so cheap or abundant -- and yet we are raising 10 billion food animals in the United States every year.

The high costs of factory-farmed foods are being paid for by the animals, rural communities, taxpayers, and the environment. Large-scale animal operations generate the sewage output comparable to a small metropolis. The waste oozing from these highly concentrated production systems fouls the air, land, and water. Sadly, if you purchase animal products from fast food restaurants, supermarkets, big box stores, or other mainstream outlets, there is a strong chance that you are eating at the expense of someone else's community well-being.

You don't have to become a vegan or vegetarian to opt out of this system that might best be described as "organized irresponsibility." (Those are certainly viable options, however.) Some of the country's best small farmers are demonstrating that traditional methods of livestock production are practical and economically viable. They are raising locally adapted breeds of livestock on pastures where the animals eat a more natural diet, grow more slowly, and naturally socialize. These animals are also raised without routine doses of antibiotics and growth hormones, essential tools in industrial CAFO production. Third-party certification organizations such as Animal Welfare Approved have established standards combined with regular audits to encourage such humane production practices.

Still, labels can be confusing, and some like "natural" and "healthy" are misleading. The best way to know where your food comes from and how it was produced is to know your farmer.
The other way to reduce the role of CAFOs is to scale back the amount of meat we consume. Many individuals are simply orienting their meals around more grains and vegetables with smaller portions of higher quality, sustainably sourced meats, dairy, and eggs. Another groundswell is the Meatless Monday campaign, which has already been embraced by chefs, restaurants, food services, k-12 schools, and college campuses.

Attending to the conditions under which your food is raised is a profound way of giving thanks to the animals that nourish you daily. It can also lead to some of the most satisfying meals you've ever shared or tasted.

Grass Pastured Meats:,

Daniel Imhoff is an author, independent publisher, and homestead farmer and the editor of CAFO: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories (Earth Aware Press, 2010). His other books include Food Fight: The Citizen's Guide to a Food and Farm Bill (2007) and Farming with the Wild: Enhancing Biodiversity on Farms and Ranches (2003).

Follow Dan Imhoff on Twitter:
Link to story:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day of the Pig 2011 (Charcuterie Class)

On March 5, WTF teamed up with Chef Charles once again for a one-of-a-kind Charcuterie Workshop. Participants learned where various cuts of meat came from, the fine-art of butchering & also got to make sausages and pates.
Here are a few pictures from The Day of the Pig.

Salt-cured ham

Tools of the trade

Ingredients to make sausage

Always a comedian!

Our job was to do dishes...and there was a lot of them!

Twisting sausages


Two of our participants

Stuffing sausage

Ham Steaks...the finished product

The gourmet lunch

The take home trays!!

I think that I can speak for all the participants & say that we had a great time! We learned a lot and ate a lot.

Check out Chef Charles website:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Marty is going to be a big brother

Your first question is probably "Who is Marty?"
The response to the next question is "No, I'm not pregnant!" Marty is our pet goose. Those of you who regularly read our blog, get our newsletter or frequent the Facebook page know about Marty. For those of you who are new I'll fill you in on the story of Marty.
We decided to get a pair of geese to keep with the chickens, to help keep predators away from them. Geese are LOUD & will let you know when there is someone/something that shouldn't be there. Our moma goose laid 3 eggs last year. One egg disappeared, one egg was a "dud" and we had a baby with the third.
Lee named him Marty because he was an odd green/yellow color and looked like a Martian. At first, Marty was with the chickens but being small (& different) they picked on him. For those of you that know me you know that I used this as a learning experience with the kids about not picking on someone because they are different!!
So Marty got to move to Hotel Menius last spring along with Poundcake (last years bottle fed lamb). Poundcake & Marty were room-mates until they were both old enough to move to the farm. Poundcake went with the sheep & Marty was suppose to live with the chickens but he found another home he liked better.....with the pigs. Even if you took him out of the pig's lot he would go right back in. He even started to look like a pig because he loved to get in the mud with the pigs.
We still have Marty & last week he was moved from his home with the pigs to the chickens. He still tells us everyday when we go to feed the chickens that he would rather be with the pigs but he has stayed put. I think he realizes that he has a job to do.
Over the past few weeks Marty's mom has been laying eggs. She has not been sitting on them so we decided to put the eggs in an incubator & hope that maybe Marty will have some siblings.
The eggs are placed in the incubator and dated so we can keep track of how long they have been in there. The boys have been checking the eggs daily as well as turning them over. Rosty was actually the photographer of the pictures below.
I hope in about 30 days I'll have some baby geese pics to show you!

Friday, March 11, 2011

WTF News- March 11, 2011

Wild Turkey Farms News- March 11, 2011

I love this time of year. The grass is greening up, babies are popping out, and the garden and greenhouse are filling up fast. We put our first group of chickens out on pasture last week and they are growing fast. With all of this spring reproducing going on our geese have decided to get in on the action and start laying eggs. Never ones to avoid a teachable moment, we borrowed a small incubator from our neighbors and have been brooding all of the goose eggs. Each morning and evening, Rosty & Charlie help turn the eggs. It's become an evening ritual that we cut out the lights and use a small flashlight to "candle" each egg to check its progress. Since we have 7 eggs in the incubator that range from 1 to 10 days old we are able to compare the progress of each and watch the embryos develop. In another 3 weeks or so we should have some baby geese if our luck holds out.

Last weekend was our first Charcuterie Class of 2011 at Chef Charles Catering in Charlotte & a great time was had by all as usual. Participants learned where their favorite cuts of pork come from and got to participate in everything from making sausage to pancetta to pate.

We picked up beef this week so stop by and load up on our 100% Grass Fed Angus Beef while it last.

Davidson Farmers Market This Weekend 9-noon
We'll be at Davidson this weekend so come by & stock up. The warm weather has perked up the chickens and we have eggs out the wazoo so come by & get your fresh eggs from us.

If you can't make the market shoot us an email and come by the farm or we'll figure out how to get your order to you.

Last Call To Get On The Wild Turkey Farms 2011 CSA List- Community Supported Agriculture or CSA is a relationship between a food producer and food consumers. This buying concept was sprouted from the idea that the customer was investing in a particular farm business they respected by buying a CSA share, similar to buying stock in a company. Our plan is to offer shares for a 10 week period starting mid-late April. We will have a weekly box of our fresh organically grown produce in $12 and $20 shares available. We haven't ironed out all of the details but ours will be with the option to add items like eggs or meats to your weekly pick up. Shares will be available to pick up at the farm during the week. The available shares are being spoken for quickly so if you are interested please email us to be put on the list.

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

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, March 10, 2011

The pigs are out......

....on grass.
These guys (& girls) are enjoying being out on fresh, green grass.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Baby Chicks

We are increasing our broiler production to have more pasture-raised chickens available during the year.
Here is the first batch of baby chicks that were moved from the brooder to fresh grass. They are in the brooder their first few weeks & when they are big enough to be outside they are moved to the movable chicken coops.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Snow pictures (from January)


Chickens & Turkey




Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Finishing what I started

I have started several blog entries and then something happens, the phone rings, I hear "Mommy!" and I never finish the entry so I am going to complete this entry and catch you up on what has been going on.
Well, to start with I can not believe that it is March. There are lots of things growing in the greenhouse and several thing planted in the garden. So those of you who signed up for our CSA things are looking good!
I told Lee I wanted to plant a more varied garden this year. Let me say that I have SO enjoyed having fruits & vegetables that we either canned or froze from last year but our selections are getting a little slim now. If you are a Facebook friend you saw my post about the 22 cans of maybe we haven't eaten a lot of pumpkin but when I do use it it is so good!! I usually use the pumpkin for bread or muffins. We also have eaten either greenbeans, black-eyed peas (which we are out of now), pink-eyed peas, or crowders peas every week. Collards is another favorite seasoned of course with WTF season meat. Potatoes and sweet potatoes...I have one potato casserole, 2 containers of mashed sweet potatoes & 2 sweet potato pies still in the freezer. If we were invited to any function at Thanksgiving or Christmas I took sweet potato casserole!!!
One thing I hope to do this spring/summer is let you know what I am doing with all the fresh vegetables & fruit that you purchase from the Farmer's market this year.
I learned a new one this past year. You can freeze bell peppers. I froze 4 freezer bags full (I still have about 4 left) & we enjoyed having stuffed bell peppers with WTF cajun sausage & rice.
Another big thing for us at the farm is lambing season. If you are a regular customer/follower of the blog or Facebook page you know all about Cupcake (2009 bottle-fed lamb) & Poundcake (2010 bottle fed lamb). This year we have Ice-Cream & Lucky. Ice-Cream (named by the boys) has much the same story as the other 2 lambs that we bottle-fed, for some reason her mom decided that she was not going to feed her so we brought her in our bathroom and gave her a warm place to stay & around-the-clock room service.
Lucky (I named) is a different story. Lucky's mom was pregnant with triplets (we did not know this at the time) and had a hard delivery with the other 2 lambs. Lee & I actually had to assist her with the birth and both lambs were already dead and the mom died soon after. This is the part of farming that really sucks but it is also a fact of life. Lucky got his name because he was "lucky" that he was born first and survived.
I guess that catches us up for now. I think I have farm pics from January that I have yet to post so check back tomorrow for those!