KW Homestead

Emma & Jason's pasture raised poultry, homesteading thoughts, and wild adventures.

Month: November 2015

Happy Turkey Day to All!

What a year it has been! It seems like just the other day that we sat around the kitchen table during a snow day and decided to raise a batch of heritage turkeys for Thanksgiving.

It’s hard to believe that the free range turkeys that we raised on our small farmstead are going to be at the centerpiece of so many family gatherings this Thanksgiving. It is a huge honor to be a part of so many Thanksgiving meals, and to know that our free range turkeys went to families that care about their food, how it’s raised, and where it comes from.

So, we decided to shoot a quick video thank you for all of our customers this year.

We hope that you have a great Thanksgiving, and that you share some of our turkey posts and videos with your guests this holiday to show them exactly where your turkey came from.

A few interesting ones are:

Happy Thanksgiving, and thanks again! And don’t forget to save those bones and make soup!

~Emma and Jason

*Don’t forget, you can reserve your turkey for Thanksgiving/Christmas 2016 right now! So even if you missed out this year, you can guarantee that next year you will sit down to a delicious, non-GMO heritage turkey. Just email us at ourochreway@gmail.com.

 

 

How to Cook Your Heritage Thanksgiving Turkey

Now that you’ve purchased your free range, non-GMO¬†Heritage Thanksgiving Turkey, you’re probably wondering how to cook it! You may have noticed that your heritage bird looks very different than the average grocery store turkey. You are right to think that there is a different technique needed in cooking your heritage bird, but never fear! We have some recipe resources for you and your family to try this holiday season.

Heritage birds are smaller than an average grocery store turkey and they tend to cook more quickly. They have more dark meat, which is great for roasting the whole bird because it is less likely to dry out.

Heritage turkeys also taste different than your average Butterball turkey. They aren’t bland and actually taste like turkey. That’s because, well, they are turkeys. Heritage birds are closer to their wild ancestors and spend their free ranging days running around the land, building muscle for your Thanksgiving enjoyment. The flavor of the meat tends to pair well with earthy, aromatic spices like sage, rosemary, and thyme. This means you can get creative with recipes this holiday season!

turkey

A delicious, roasted turkey!

Here are a few recipes that your family might enjoy this Thanksgiving:

Here are a few of our tips for cooking your Heritage Turkey:

  • Make sure your bird is fully thawed before you cook it.
  • Take it out of the refrigerator and let it come up to room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour before you begin cooking it.
  • Don’t overcook your bird!
  • These birds have not been injected with whatever gross flavor concoction the conventional grocery store birds have been, so be sure to season appropriately (salt, pepper, garlic, whatever floats your gravy boat).
  • The USDA recommends cooking your bird until the internal temperature (the meat in the inner thigh) reaches 165 degrees. However, many chefs recommend cooking your Heritage Turkey until it reaches 140-150 degrees.
  • When you take your bird out of the oven, let it rest for at least 15-20 minutes before you carve it. This allows for all of the moisture and juices to seep back into the meat instead of being released as steam.
  • Don’t cook the stuffing inside the bird. Because heritage birds cook quicker, the stuffing might make the bird cook unevenly. You can still add aromatics like part of an onion, apple, or carrot to the cavity to add moisture and flavor.
  • If you are cooking it at a higher temperature, you might want to skip basting the bird. This is because constantly opening the oven door lowers the temperature and might make the bird cook unevenly.
  • Heritage Turkeys do not need to be brined (they have their own delicious flavor). Some chefs say that brining enhances the flavor and others say that it is unnecessary and simply extra work.
  • Don’t forget to save your bones! Simmer them in a crock pot with water for hours to make a stock or broth. These birds were raised naturally on pasture and their bones, tendons, and joints will make a delicious and nutritious broth!

For more information and tips about cooking your Heritage Turkey, check out these articles from Rodale’s Organic Life about How to Cook the Tastiest Bird Ever This Thanksgiving and The Magic of Fire: Traditional Foodways by William Rubel.

We wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, from our Family Homestead to your Family Table! If you are interested in sharing your Heritage Turkey recipes or pictures from this year’s Thanksgiving, send us an email at ourochreway@gmail.com so we can add it to our website!

Also, it’s not too early too early or too late to reserve your free range, non-GMO Heritage Thanksgiving Turkey for Thanksgiving 2016. Check out our Heritage Turkeys page for more information!

turkeys

Happy turkeys!

How Does 4,000 Pounds of Animal Feed Sound?

We were desperately in need of animal feed for the upcoming season…

hallway

A sad, empty stairwell!

We decided that it was easier (in the long run) and better to order many, many bags of feed instead of our usual 15 or so.

And since we help supply the Triad area with non-GMO feed, we thought it was a good idea to prepare ourselves for the winter months.

We ordered our non-GMO feed from Barrier Farms, focusing on layer feed (for the laying ducks) and broiler feed (for the turkeys and next batch of Pekin ducklings that arrive before Thanksgiving) for the colder, time of sparser forage ahead.

Jason went and picked them up and then we stacked 80 bags of feed in the usual storage location…

Before!

Before!

After!

After!

So the next time you need local, non-GMO feed, give us a call… 336.419.0724!

Let's hope they don't slide down the stairs!

Let’s hope they don’t slide down the stairs!

.:.

 

 

3 Weeks Till Thanksgiving: Why Do Turkeys Make That Sneezing Sound?

It’s almost Thanksgiving!!!

Perhaps you are wondering more about tom turkeys and how exactly they show off for the ladies… This video explains it!

Also, don’t forget to order your heritage Thanksgiving bird today!

.:.

What Do Free Range Turkeys Eat?

Our flock of heritage turkeys are getting bigger everyday and will be nice and plump when Thanksgiving rolls around. They spend their days free ranging and foraging the fields, pastures and woods of our farm, but what do they actually eat?

heritage turkeys greensboro

Free range turkeys enjoying the sun.

First off, we supplement them with the highest quality non-GMO feed available. They get a small amount in the morning, and a bigger ration when the sun starts to set to entice them back to the safety of their coop. Because we raise the slower growing, heritage Bourbon Reds, they aren’t as interested in the feed as a modern factory raised bird. They seem to prefer to forage for their food.

Our turkeys graze on green grass, clover, and other broad leaved plants. I have seen them devour a thick stand of pasture, and jump up to grab a midair bite out of 6 foot tall amaranth plants. They eat anything green, from chicory to plantain, and this helps to produce that wonderful rich flavor and the amazing health benefits of pastured poultry.

heritage turkey winston salem

Because our heritage turkeys are out on pasture for their entire life, they develop flavor that can’t be found in a supermarket.

In addition to the green portions of plants, they also eat a fair amount of seeds. Some they pick off the ground, and others the harvest directly from the plant. We have stands of lambsquarter, grain amaranth, sorghum, and chia, and I have seen the turkeys eat them all.

One thing they love are surplus vegetables from our organic garden. They seem to favor heirloom tomatoes above all else.

thanksgiving turkey triad

Searching for seeds and bugs.

But they don’t eat just plants while out on pasture. They also hunt and chase all sorts of insects and bugs. Grasshoppers are a rare sight on our farm now that the turkeys roam the fields.

And boy do they roam. While they spend a lot of time in the open pastures, they also range the wooded acreage too. Mature oak and hickory trees provide a hearty mast crop of acorns and nuts that the turkeys strong beaks and gizzards make short work of. This is another important aspect of their flavor development, and contributes to the terroir of all the animals raised on our property.

piedmont heritage turkeys

Reserve your free range bird today!

As you can see, your heritage thanksgiving turkey has been busy free ranging for both its food and it’s flavor. There’s still time to reserve your bird this year and lock in the special $7/lb. price. Please check out our heritage turkey page for more information on how to order.

 

Clear the Way: Pigs Coming!

Our pigs have been the source of so much laughter and enjoyment over the last year. In addition to their piglet antics and the lovely birth experiences I’ve been able to witness, they do more for us than provide enjoyment!

They work for us…

And they don’t even have to try!

A few months ago we set them up in an old tobacco field on our land, that has been growing intense, thick pine trees and blackberry bushes for the better part of a decade. They have slowly moved through that field in electric fence paddocks, clearing and eating bushes and trees and opening up the earth for grass and other pasture loving plants to grow. They have successfully cleared a large enough area for us to have a new garden space next year. Exciting!

 

pig clearing land

Pig-cleared land.

pigs

The pigs come over to say hi!

.:.

Our Very Own Bacon!

Our very own bacon, and yes, we’re excited!!!

A few months ago we talked about making homemade sausage on our Facebook page, and we have enjoyed eating that delicious sausage for breakfast, and in soups and casseroles. We will run out soon, so we decided to break out the bacon.

Some of our bacon was cured with salt and some with salt and brown sugar. The meat/fat/skin was cured in our fridge in bags and frozen unsliced in  medium-sized sheets.

It was very exciting to slice the bacon… We decided to slice some pieces as thin as we could and leave others thicker. All of the pieces cooked up well, and the crunchy skin on each piece was amazing!

bacon

Slicing our bacon!

If you look at the image below, you can see the pinker meat, the layers of white fat in the middle, and the thick layer of skin on the outside edge. This is how bacon should be…!

bacon

Not much is better than bacon!

Yum!

.:.

 

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