Vendor Profile: Local Turkeys
Here at River Valley Co-op we have several local, family-owned farms, humanely-raised turkeys that are antibiotic and hormone free. Stop by the co-op this Thanksgiving to purchase poultry products from Diemand Farm in Wendell, MA, Misty Knoll Farm in New Haven, VT and finally Stonewood Farm in Orwell, VT.
In August, we had Diemand Farm come visit the staff huddle and speak about their poultry and other ‘farm-grown products’. In addition to poultry, they carry farm fresh eggs, turkey pot pies, catering for groups and families, wool and wool products and other farm-grown products.
This year one of our own staffers (Miles of the Meat Dept) helped a shorthanded local turkey farm prepare over 400 birds for Thanksgiving. For us, it may seem a small thing to record an order for a “fresh local turkey.” But, we can think about it another way. We can consider the family of farmers who will continue raise healthy, happy, turkeys because we sold their product, and helped their farm to profit (again so many kudos to Miles).
The Diemand Farm – Wendell, MA
Diemand Farm is a small family business, not a large commercial operation. They raise and process their own poultry (indoor free-range chickens and pasture raised free-range turkeys) and farm fresh eggs. In addition, they have added their own grass-fed beef. All of their meat is hormone and antibiotic-free. You can purchase it all in the farm store.
They have a small commercial kitchen and create delicious home-style foods from their own farm-raised meats and other local ingredients.
Misty Knoll Farm – New Haven, VT
You can trust Misty Knoll Farms to bring Vermont's most flavorful and nutritious poultry to your family's table.
Family owned since 1984, Misty Knoll Farms is a farm producing the finest naturally raised chickens and turkeys available from Vermont. Their clients are discerning individuals, restaurants and retail outlets throughout New England. As stewards of Vermont’s working landscape, they treat their farm as a precious, irreplaceable resource, and follow sustainable farming practices that ensure our cropland will be productive for future generations. They raise their birds with the utmost care, feeding them wholesome grain that is free of antibiotics and animal by-products. This guarantees healthy, nutritious, and flavorful birds nature’s way.
Misty Knoll Farms is an active member of the Vermont Fresh Network (VFN), a state-wide organization dedicated to building innovative partnerships among Vermont farmers, chefs, and consumers to strengthen Vermont’s agriculture. Owners John Palmer and Rob Litch, also a VFN board member, feel strongly that working to create lasting and sustainable connections between local farms and restaurants is critical for the future of Vermont’s landscape, its economy, and the health of the state.
Stonewood Farm – Orwell, VT
Stonewood Farm is a family-owned and operated farm that’s been raising turkeys for over 30 years. Their turkeys are humanely raised and cared for and get plenty of Vermont air, good feed, and tender loving care. They're raised without hormones, antibiotics, or animal by-products added to their feed, and are intentionally grown slowly. This ensures a delicious and naturally self-basting turkey, which lends a superior flavor and juiciness that Stonewood Farm turkey is known for. Additionally, they have an on-site USDA-approved processing facility that is operated by the family.
Reposted with permission from www.strongertogether.coop
Nutritious and versatile, poultry is an affordable staple in many omnivore households. Poultry lends itself to a variety of cooking methods—baking, grilling and stir-frying, for example—and flavorings from sweet and savory to hot and spicy.
As with other foods, knowing where and how your chicken, turkey, Cornish game hen, and other poultry have been raised can help you choose the products that are right for you (and provides information about animal welfare and environmental impact).
Understanding some commonly used poultry-producing terms can help put you in the know. However, it's important to know that some of the terms are regulated, while others are not. When in doubt about poultry terms or what's offered at your local grocery store, ask for more information at the meat counter.
Poultry that meets the requirements of the National Organics Program (NOP) has been raised in housing that permits natural behavior, with outdoor access, has been fed certified organic feed (including pasture), has not been given antibiotics or hormones and has been processed organically. The USDA organic label requires producers to follow production and handling practices in accordance with the national standards; certifying agents ensure compliance through annual inspections.
This USDA regulation means that the animal has been allowed access to the outside. The government doesn't specify that poultry must go outside, for how long, or the amount or kind of space that must be provided, but the idea is that poultry is free to roam outdoors and engage in natural behaviors (this is the way most poultry was raised before high-density confinement was introduced in the 1950s). And poultry that exercises produces leaner meat.
USDA allows this label to be used when a product contains no artificial ingredients or added colors and is only minimally processed. The label must explain what "natural" means, so be sure to read on. It might say "no added colorings or artificial ingredients; minimally processed," for example.
"No hormones added"
This means just that, but keep in mind that Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in raising poultry, so this term should apply to all poultry anyway. Regulations also require that if a poultry label says, "no hormones added," it must also say, "Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones."
"No antibiotics added"
This means that the producer has provided documentation to the USDA that the animals were raised without antibiotics.
Poultry that's cage-free is allowed to roam, but not necessarily outdoors. This allows poultry to engage in some natural behaviors, such as walking, nesting, and perching. However, this term is not regulated by USDA nor by third-party certifiers for poultry, though it is regulated for eggs.
This is a term coined for chickens raised on grass pasture all of the time after the initial brooding period. However, this term does not guarantee that poultry feeds only on pasture.
A "fresh" poultry label means that the temperature of the raw poultry has never been below 26 degrees F. (Frozen poultry, on the other hand, has a temperature of 0 degrees F or below.) A turkey could be kept at 27 degrees F for weeks or even months, though, and then sold as "fresh." Buy from a grocer who can tell you how long the "fresh" poultry has been in storage.
To locate local poultry sources (including farms and co-ops), check out the Local Harvest website.