Since we began raising our own meat, Thanksgiving has posed a bit of dilemma. We raise a variety of pastured, healthy, and delicious meats, but there are no turkeys on the farm. Can you have Thanksgiving without turkey?
In the past, our answer has been no. We've purchased a turkey (after all they are so cheap this time of year,) and served it along side venison, lamb, rabbit, beef, or pork depending on what we had available from the farm. This year, we are changing our tune, and saying, "Yes, you can, and we will, have Thanksgiving without turkey." There are a few reasons behind this change of heart.
The first reason happened accidentally. When Kellen and Lydia had their Ham, Bacon, and Egg project pigs processed, we wanted to order the loins in boneless roasts. Apparently, there was a breakdown in communication between us and the processor. Oh, we got boneless loin roasts alright, but the processor kept them whole. Do you know how large a whole feeder pig loin is? Each hog has two loins. Out of the four loins we received, the smallest is seven pounds. It only makes sense to use those large roasts for a feast like Thanksgiving.
Beyond the gigantic pork loins, we have several freezers full of delicious, healthy pastured beef, goat, and pork. We have ducks and chickens that are just about ready to be processed. Do we really need to buy any other meat? But there is the argument that turkey is so cheap right now why not stock up on something we don't have?
Well, this is where I must admit that I have become a bit of a meat snob. It has been a gradual change. One that I didn't even realize was happening, but there is a huge difference in taste between factory farm raised and small farm raised meat. I don't want the factory raised stuff, and I don't know of anyone local with turkeys ready for Thanksgiving.
So you realize that I haven just written this whole post to justify to myself that it is ok to not have turkey at Thanksgiving. That is how connected turkey is to Thanksgiving. Next year, maybe we need to raise turkeys. Or the hunters in the family need to go get me a local turkey!