CSA Pickup – 9/2/2020

We have been focusing a lot on vegetables and how and why we grow them in this newsletter. Quite a few of you are members of our meat CSA also. For these next two-three weeks, I am going to focus a bit more on the meat that we raise here at Rainshadow Organics. We are going to start with a discussion of our meat birds.

Above, you can see our intern Jay introducing the chicks to their new home and one of our friends of the farm hanging out with the birds in their chick pasture.

Last week those of you in our meat CSA picked up a whole chicken. Chickens that are raised for meat are referred to as broiler chickens. We have raised a number of varieties of chickens before we landed on the Redbro variety. They seem to be a much better fit for us here. While these aren’t a heritage breed of bird, they are a slow-growing bird that uses less water and is far more active than their conventional cousins. This contributes to their resilience in our desert environment and their activity allows them to flourish in their free range, pasture raised life. 

We get our chickens in the mail, 100 at a time. After we pick them up at the post office, they spend around 14 weeks with us as we raise them from little chicks into 4-6 pound meat birds for your (and our) enjoyment. The first 6 weeks a chick spends here we keep them warm with a warming light and feed them a whole grain, locally raised and produced diet. We gradually introduce them to a free range, pastured lifestyle. At about 4-6 weeks they are old and resilient enough to be turned out into the meat bird pasture where they get to run around, foraging for bugs, seeds, and plants until around 12-16 weeks when they are big enough to eat. 

Every year on March 15 we welcome our turkeys to Turkey Town. We raise heritage breed, organic, free range turkeys. While all turkeys are descendants of wild turkeys from North and South America, but Heritage breed turkeys are more like their wild cousins and can withstand the elements better than factory farmed birds. They are slow growing (needing 28 weeks or more to get to a harvest weight of 10-28 lbs), which results in a stronger bone structure and more muscle mass especially in their legs (a result of running around and supporting themselves). Additionally, heritage turkeys have to be able to self-reproduce (all factory birds need to be artificially inseminated). Because of their much more active life, they have more dark than light meat and have much more flavorful meat.

We have made a conscious decision to raise heritage breed turkeys at Rainshadow Organics. They take a long time to grow into dinner and are for more expensive to raise than factory turkeys because they eat so much, but by raising them we are playing a critical role in preserving the biodiversity of our planet. 20 years ago, there were only 1,335 breeding hens of turkey varieties known to have developed on American soil. Since then, turkey numbers have increased to 30,000 of these types of birds. This increase is due to farmers and people like you who prioritize diversity and sustainability in your food choices. We raise seven varieties of heritage turkeys: Bourbon Red, Spanish Black, Holland White, Blue Slate, Royal Pom, Narragansett, and Chocolate. We take seriously our part in preserving the planets biodiversity by raising, promoting, and eating these breeds. 

The other fun part about our turkeys is that they live on the farm with us for so long! We really develop relationships with them as we watch them grow from pullet to 11-20 lb bird. They welcome us at the gate as we deliver food, gobble, cluck, and coo when we walk by, and you can tell it is time to get up when they start clattering on the roof of the chicken house and you know the sun will set soon when they start roosting in the trees. 

(See Food from the Radical Center: healing our land and communities, by Gary Paul Nabhan and https://livestockconservancy.org/index.php/resources/internal/heritage-turkey and https://modernfarmer.com/2016/11/heritage-turkeys/ for more info on Heritage breed turkeys.)

 

Every year on March 15 we welcome our turkeys to Turkey Town. We raise heritage breed, organic, free range turkeys. While all turkeys are descendants of wild turkeys from North and South America, but Heritage breed turkeys are more like their wild cousins and can withstand the elements better than factory farmed birds. They are slow growing (needing 28 weeks or more to get to a harvest weight of 10-28 lbs), which results in a stronger bone structure and more muscle mass especially in their legs (a result of running around and supporting themselves). Additionally, heritage turkeys have to be able to self-reproduce (all factory birds need to be artificially inseminated). Because of their much more active life, they have more dark than light meat and have much more flavorful meat.

We have made a conscious decision to raise heritage breed turkeys at Rainshadow Organics. They take a long time to grow into dinner and are for more expensive to raise than factory turkeys because they eat so much, but by raising them we are playing a critical role in preserving the biodiversity of our planet. 20 years ago, there were only 1,335 breeding hens of turkey varieties known to have developed on American soil. Since then, turkey numbers have increased to 30,000 of these types of birds. This increase is due to farmers and people like you who prioritize diversity and sustainability in your food choices. We raise seven varieties of heritage turkeys: Bourbon Red, Spanish Black, Holland White, Blue Slate, Royal Pom, Narragansett, and Chocolate. We take seriously our part in preserving the planets biodiversity by raising, promoting, and eating these breeds. 

The other fun part about our turkeys is that they live on the farm with us for so long! We really develop relationships with them as we watch them grow from pullet to 11-20 lb bird. They welcome us at the gate as we deliver food, gobble, cluck, and coo when we walk by, and you can tell it is time to get up when they start clattering on the roof of the chicken house and you know the sun will set soon when they start roosting in the trees. 

(See Food from the Radical Center: healing our land and communities, by Gary Paul Nabhan and https://livestockconservancy.org/index.php/resources/internal/heritage-turkey and https://modernfarmer.com/2016/11/heritage-turkeys/ for more info on Heritage breed turkeys.)

 

Thanksgiving Turkeys are Available!

 

Put your deposit down for a Thanksgiving, Heritage breed, organic, free-range, pastured turkey. Only 50 available.

Click the button below and select the “2020 Fresh, Organic Turkey Deposit” button and secure your turkey today. 

$50 deposit and you pay the rest when you pick the bird up, $8/lb. Closer to November we will reach out to ask what size of turkey you prefer. 

Turkey’s will be available for pick-up at the Farm Store or from us in Bend on Tuesday, 11/24. 

Thanksgiving Turkey
This is a big week for Kale! If you have a favorite Kale recipe, consider sharing it to our Facebook group. For that matter, share any of your recipes that you have made with our meat and/or vegetables and  help inspire all our other CSA members and to gain some inspiration yourself! Below is a recipe for Kale Chips that you can turn some of your kale on.

Crispy Kale Chips
serves 4
1 head kale, washed and thoroughly dried
2 Tbs olive oil
Salt, other herbs and spices for seasoning (pepper, chile powder, dill, chives, vinegar)
  1. Preheat the oven to 275F.
  2. Remove the ribs from the kale and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Lay on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and salt/other seasonings. Turn the leaves after about baking 10 minutes in the oven. Bake until crisp, about 20 minutes total. 
Adapted from Melissa D’Arabian, Food Network

We are cruising down to our last month of our summer CSA pick-ups. Thank you all for your inspiration and appetites this summer. We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday and sharing your excitement as we close out our last month.

See you tomorrow!

Rainshadow Organics Crew