It’s time to talk turkey – Thanksgiving turkeys that is! Meet John Crisp from Americus, Kansas. John is extremely well-versed on raising organic food and has taught sustainable and organic agriculture classes at Flint Hills Technical College in Emporia, Kansas. A lifelong farmer, John started raising turkeys 10 years ago. He lives on what is called a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm where consumers can buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer and have a say in how the food is raised. In addition to raising free-range, organic turkeys, John’s CSA farm also has 2 acres of garden area with 60 types of fruits and vegetables, herbs, along with chickens and grass-fed lamb. His customer base is around 600 families living within a 75 mile radius who benefit from his wholesome food offerings. To learn more about CSA farms, go to http://www.localharvest.org/ and type in your zip code to find a CSA farm near you. Johns’ farm is called Shepherd’s Valley Farm and he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
John shares his love of organic, sustainable farming. He frequently teaches missionaries headed to foreign countries how to establish sustainable farming in those regions. He also works with at-risk teen groups and has helped start community and school gardens.
Back to talking turkey. Each year, John raises 100 turkeys. He picks up the one day old poults at the local post office, brings them home to place in a brooder for 3 weeks keeping them warm until their feathers come in. Then the turkeys are kept in a field pen or hoop structure (otherwise they would fly away) that gets moved twice a day to feed on fresh grass. His pasture-based poultry are also fed a certified organic grain mix. Depending on the breed, they will be processed between 17-30 weeks which John does onsite. He had two breeds of turkey the day I was there – Broad-Breasted Bronze and Bourbon Reds. In 2007, the New York Times had a nationwide chef’s poll ranking Bourbon Reds as the best tasting turkeys.
Nutrient wise, turkey meat is near the top. A 3 ounce boneless, skinless serving size provides 26 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat and only 160 calories. Selenium is a mineral turkey provides which is essential for thyroid metabolism and along with the amino acid tryptophan, which produces serotonin helping strengthen the immune system.
Typically associated with Thanksgiving, turkey is a low-cost, low-fat, high nutrient meat source available year round and can be a routine part of a healthy diet. To learn more about the health benefits of grass-fed meats, visit www.eatwild.com.