It was the week before Christmas and the time had come to dispatch the turkeys.
We had bought a pair of young turkeys in early summer, with the view to grow them and have them for Christmas dinner.
At one point we thought they were a female and a male, who we named Gertrude and Gary. Olly became desperate to keep them as a breeding pair, so a home grown turkey for Christmas dinner was quite literally off the table.
It became clear later on that Gertie was in fact a late bloomer. He was renamed as Gary 2, and the original plans were back on the table.
They were a pair of characters, and I really enjoyed having them around. But I was keen to follow through with producing our first home-grown meat.
I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it when it came to the day. It was a 2 person job - one to hold and one to dispatch, so I’d have to take part if I wanted my home-grown turkey dinner.
In the end I was quite calm. It was one bad morning in what a been a very nice life for a turkey. The goal was always to produce as much food ourselves as we can, and as meat-eaters that involves raising animals and killing them.
It may seem strange to a lot of folk, to know an animal, care for it, and then eat it. But I take comfort in the fact that I know exactly the kind of life that an animal has lived, the things it's eaten, how it’s been cared for. I know that my animals have lived a happy life, free from pain and suffering, enjoying rooting or scratching around outside, able to act out its nagural behaviours.
We decided to do both the turkeys at the same time, as it would be too sad for one to be left without the other. Olly and I plucked one each, and then prepared them both one for the fridge and one for the freezer.
On Christmas day, the turkey was lovingly prepared and roasted. It was delicious, enjoyed my myself, Olly, my Mum and her husband Stephen. With the leftovers Olly and I made turkey curry (a classic!), turkey hash and turkey tacos.
I’m not sure when we’ll cook the second turkey, we’ll have to wait for some more visitors as it will take a long time for the 2 of us to eat a whole turkey!
I have plans to hatch some turkey eggs this year, and to keep a breeding pair in order to have a sustainable home-grown turkey source.