Behold this beautiful tail of a "tom" turkey.
Most of the month of May is turkey-hunting season in southern Ohio, and this shimmering, elegant tail was recently offered to me by neighbor, Kathy. Several weeks ago, she enticed a "tom" to present itself closely enough in the woods, to feed her family on Memorial Day. The colors of the tail are breathtaking in their muted, silken flow of browns, reds, and yellows, which most of us don't witness up-close. Some of nature's greatest artistry seems to be expressed in the plumage of birds.
I asked Kathy to share a few words about the tom turkey.
In Spring, a tom turkey's fancy turns to romance. The brilliantly colored tom gobbles, struts, drums and spits, doing his best to attract dull, unremarkably colored hens. It's the hen that makes the choice if or when to accept his suit. Older more dominate toms try to outdo challengers, often sparring and chasing lesser Cassanovas away. After weeks of strutting and flirting with the girls, a Tom's weight drops, his wing feathers break at the tips and his tail becomes ragged. A mature tom can weigh 18 to 25 pounds, depending on breeding activity and diet. A hunter lures a tom by attempting to imitate a receptive hen, using a variety of calls to convince him there is one more girlfriend who can't wait to meet him. And then, there is always luck. Only toms or bearded hens are legal to harvest in Spring, for hens are nesting, supplying offspring for the future.
Thank you, Kathy, for your interesting words and magnificent gift. What a beautiful tribute to the abundance of nature and this season of hope.
Above one can see the contrast between pasture grazed yesterday and new grass for today. Grass trampled onto the ground, in the foreground, feeds microbes which activates the mineral-cycle in soil. Grass that is not trampled, but grazed, as in the background, sloughs root-matter into the soil, releasing carbon and building organic matter. Each gram of carbon stored in soil attracts eight grams of water. The more carbon in soil, the more water is retained and resilience generated against drought.
Grazing is a powerful tool not only for producing nutrient-dense meat, but also for rebuilding topsoil, upon which civilization depends. Few tools are so useful. Nature has been perfecting this one for millions of years. It is thus prudent to employ it, which we do with your help.
Two weekends ago we enjoyed a great Farm Tour, with a group of 20. We banged through pot holes in trucks, watched Bo shepherd reluctant yearling sheep, observed ewes with newborn lambs, examined two different shade-mobiles, said hello to steers ready for harvest, observed the cow-herd with calves, inspected the egg mobile and its guardian, Coquie, saw woodlots where hogs were raised, took a look at wetlands, and enjoyed a sumptuous meal prepared by Susan of: Moroccan sliders, egg salad with Moroccan mayonnaise, baked beans, and homemade chocolate chip cookies. The weather was beautiful, and the day unfolded perfectly, providing opportunity for customers to understand more closely the landscape and processes behind the food we bring to you.
We are transitioning from old hens to new hens, which is challenging our supply of eggs. But the pullets who arrived several weeks ago are starting to lay, so supply is rebuilding. In the meantime, pullet eggs are smaller than full size, but are rich and delicious. Below is a picture of a recent lunch of pullet eggs and pepper. Couldn't have been better! We will bring them to the market, at a discounted price, until they reach full size.
As Memorial Day approaches, we suggest for your grill: hamburger patties, sliders (Moroccan, Vietnamese, or American) or Short Rib Burgers. Some of all three would meet the tastes of any crowd. Each is easy to prepare and distinct in taste.
Beth & Bob will be at Findlay Market on Saturday and Sunday, while Susan & I hold down Hyde Park on Sunday, where we served a bountiful number of hot sliders last weekend. We have also started attending the Blue Ash market on Wednesdays and look forward to deepening our connection there.
On-line orders may be placed below.
May the beauty in a turkey's tail give flight to your dreams,
Drausin & Susan