Yep, that’s Mark hangin’ with Joel at a farmer’s only dinner that happened after the Joel Salatin lecture that same afternoon. It was very inspiring and encouraging to be with my fellow farmers and agriculturally concerned citizens for the day. Definitely reaffirmed my belief that grass based farming is the best. But Joel also reminded me that (and we’re doing the right thing here) feeding livestock doesn’t have to be this purist approach. His point was that chickens historically were kept outside your kitchen so you could feed them your kitchen scraps. Hogs were kept by diaries so they could consume the milk spoils. Basically, take advantage of your omnivore livestock inclination’s and supplement them with the healthy spoils from your community. And then we had an interesting side discussion with him on what is better to raise: heritage turkeys or commercial broad breasted whites. Here’s a breakdown of his answer:
- Heritage are wonderful for their genetic specificity which is important. It’s hard to make money on them due to their slow growth and low finish weights. Want to do something cool and important? Create a new genetic “code” (type of turkey) that flourishes in your particular environment/region that finishes fast and tastes great.
- Commercial birds (if pastured) taste the same as heritage. He cited a chef’s blind taste testing he and a heritage turkey farmer did in D.C. You can more readily make money on them.
- Basically, pasture the Broad Breasted White and then aim high to create your own regional breed.
Bainbridge Island Broad Breasted?