It is Peter’s turn to write the weekly essay, but we’ve agreed he should have the week off. This year he had to carry far more of the turkey distribution effort than usual. As the years have gone by, an ever increasing proportion of our turkey customer base has shifted to Hudson Valley and nearby territory, with ever more folks picking up at the farm. This means he was on the go from our 5:30 a.m. start Monday, when we trudged up to the barn in the dark to load our 102 turkeys onto Mike Picinelli’s trailer, straight through to the last turkey pick up around 5 Wednesday evening.
Then, while still suffering the effects of a severe cold he came brought back from Istanbul, he turned immediately to his role as principal chef of our Thanksgiving feast, emulsifying and then roasting the Turkana Farms heritage turkey, preparing our oyster and artichoke gumbo, a cornbread and Turkana Farms sausage stuffing, shaved roasted Turkana Farms brussels sprouts with parmesan, his own cranberry sauce, braised Turkana Farms red cabbage with Madeira sauce, sauteed Turkana Farms leeks with potatoes, and homemade gravy. My contributions were basically as sous-chef and baker (making the cornbread for the stuffing, making a Turkana Farms cheese pumpkin pumpkin pie, shucking the oysters for the gumbo) and pale in comparison.
The bottom line: Peter has decided to take a rest and will write next week. In the meantime, I will channel him by reprinting below Peter’s poem, November Days, which we publish annually to reflect the bittersweet spirit of sending our animals to market each fall:
(a dirge plays underneath)
From my window I gazed on my farm
While quietly scratching my right arm
The days they grew shorter
My thoughts turned to … SLAUGHTER
The trailer was parked in the yard
The frosts got increasingly hard
I struggled my darndest
But my thoughts turned to … HARVEST.
The feed grew increasingly expensive
While I grew progressively pensive
Ah, my dear ones, I said
’tis time you were … DEAD.
Oinked the pigs to the turkeys “Aprez vous”
The turkeys replied: “Googlie Goo”
The cows to the pigs mooed “Farewell”
The pigs answered back “GO TO HELL!”
The realization sadly was mine
That all poultry, pigs, and kine
Are not here to need us
But rather to FEED us