Turkey Harvest 2022
Happy Thanksgiving Week ~ We hope y'all aren't too crazy getting ready for this big event! We're holding it together over here at the farm, and enjoying all the hustle and bustle of packing your orders together with all of your turkeys.
Our Turkey Harvest this year began with a crisp, sunny morning and ended with a freezing hail storm. But we made the best of it with man's first major discovery... fire. The experience and the outcome was worth the long day, which we would like to share with you in the photos and stories below...
We began at 6:00 am before the sun began :) We needed to start the hot water turkey dunking basin (scalder) to bring the water up to 165 degrees before beginning the harvest.
Then Isaiah, Stevenson, and Keller went off to the portable turkey barn to catch the turkeys. Not long afterwards, our wildlife protection friend (Larry Lane) showed up with five more friends to help us finish this project in one day (which ended up being 6:00 am - 11:00 pm.
With all of us gathered together we began with a prayer and then a short orientation to organize the team. It’s time to grab the first turkey and bring it to station one… the dispatching zone.
Stage two is the scalder and then the featherer. We dunk the drained turkey in a hot water bath three to four times to loosen its feathers. Then we set it in the “sideways dryer with rubber fingers” and after a few minutes of spinning around we have a giant “rubber ducky.”
Next we have a small station to clean up the feathering work, and then we move the turkey over to the “dirty room” where we clean out the insides and save the giblets.
After final cleaning and rinsing, the turkeys get dunked in a freezing “cold bath” for a minimum of three hours, which kills any bacteria that may be present. Then the birds go to the packaging tables where they are dried off, shrink-bagged, weighed and labeled.
Before freezing the birds, they must all sit in various refrigerators that we have around the ranch, in order to chill out for 3-4 days (tenderizing). Then we set them in our freezers to await assignment to customers. With about 100 customer reservations, we need to match up our turkeys with our customers and then deliver them before Thanksgiving Day along with sausage and bacon and other little goodies to round out everyone’s holiday menus.