It’s been a great summer here on our farm and I hope the same has been true for you. Our older flocks are active and happy on range, and our brooder barns are busy with the excitement of young poults, now just a couple weeks old. It’s the time of year that keeps us very busy, but also prime time to capture the benefits of having our turkeys outside. In addition to the usual farm work, our July was busy with farm tours. Hosting guests is sincerely one of my favorite parts of my work, and I thought it would be fun to share a couple fun stories from the past few weeks:
- I was leading a tour with a mix of adults and children, and found myself talking about the difficulty we face in finding equipment for ranging our turkeys, since so few farms still grow poultry outdoors. Using a figure of speech, I said “this is one of the challenges of being a dinosaur in modern farming.” Before I could finish, a young boy looked at me with wide-eyed excitement and said “wait, you have dinosaurs on this farm?”
- We were happy to have a group from the student nutrition team at Shakopee Schools join us for our wholesale farm dinner. They are a great supporter of our Ferndale turkey throughout the school year. One of our turkey items served often at Shakopee Schools is our Turkey Cocktail Wiener, although I learned that they need to call them Diggity Dogs, because they aren’t able to print “cocktail” or “wiener” on the school lunch menu! The things I’d never thought of in naming a new product…
- After a tour, I had a guest approach me and say “my daughter used to grow turkeys in a confinement barn, but I’ll have to tell her about your farm, because this looks a lot easier.” I’m not sure what I said to make our farming methods sound easier – it’s actually more labor intensive – but I’ll have to review my script before next time!
- We had a group of visitors from Minneapolis Schools, another of our terrific Farm to School supporters. This group was especially meaningful because they brought both staff and students. It’s a rare thing to have the farmer, cook, and end-user all together face-to-face. This is where real trust in our food system begins, and it’s a privilege to be in a part of agriculture that provides these opportunities.
- As I guided our hay ride out to our tom range on a beautiful July night, our 7-year-old son decided to join me on the tractor to “drive.” We steered off the gravel farm road onto the range grass and through the gate together. As we came to our flock running toward us, I thought “it doesn’t get any better than this.” Family. Customers that care enough to visit our farm. A distinctive type of farming I’m proud to showcase and sustain.
Thank you for being a part of our Ferndale community, and being a part of our work. I hope
you’ll have a chance to join us for a farm tour next summer!