Field Notes Volume 3 | Number 10 August 3rd, 2015
Today Athena drove the last of the broilers to be slaughtered at Working H Market outside of McHenry, MD. They were the last 18 of the 50 Red Rangers that we have been raising since May. We processed the first 32 a couple of weeks ago at the farm, but due to some technical difficulties we didnÂ’t get to finish.
Slaughtering that many birds is a big job, both in terms of organization and time, but most of all for me the hardest part is killing the chickens, but it is also the most meaningful. I picked these birds up as day old chicks from the post office, they were a chirping box full of joy and concern, and even for a man as hard as myself, it brought a smile and some tenderness to my heart. We cared for them for 12 weeks- feeding, watering, and moving them twice a day. Most of those duties were taken on by Tom and Myra, but I too always had an eye and an ear out for them. I enjoyed watching them grow and fed them a lot of the same vegetables that we gave to the CSA. They loved them and ate
everything that I gave.
For some folks killing animals might be easy, they might think nothing of it, but I am not one of those folks. I believe that death is part of life,
and that we humans are a part of that natural cycle. This does not discount the fact that all animals have a right to a decent life with fresh air, fresh water, sufficient food, and without unnecessary stress. This unfortunately isnÂ’t true of the large majority of animals raised in the United States or the world.
Every year in the US 10 billion animals are slaughtered for meat, almost all of them in confinement operations, where the animals live in poor conditions and are constantly stressed. I eat this meat on a weekly basis, so do you, so does nearly everyone who eats meat. We usually donÂ’t ask any questions, and if we do itÂ’s usually not the right ones. I try not to let this bring me down. I fully believe that eating should be not only an act of nourishment, but also one of joy, and there is no bigger buzz kill than the crazy farmer sitting across from you telling everybody how the animals have suffered for our meat. This doesnÂ’t make it any less true though, so for me, raising animals for meat- that get the basic rights of a good life, whose days are filled with sunshine
and fresh grass, who only suffer for the singular moment when death meets them- is not only a duty that I feel deeply, but also a privilege. When I or you, or anyone eats one of our birds, Â they will taste some healthy, flavorful chicken, but we can also feel secure that there is happiness in those chickens, and that they were loved from their first day to their last.
Last week we roasted two of them for a dinner to welcome a new member to the farm crew- Amanda, but also to share in giving thanks for what we have and celebrate in sharing. The birds were at the center of it all, plucked and roasted, devoid of their regal plumage, but looking lovely in the pan (and tasting lovely too!). I donÂ’t think too much about the living animal when I eat these birds, but for just a moment I looked at the tasty leg that I held in my hand, and thought how thankful I was for their life, for their deaths,
and for the yummy goodness that they blessed us with.
Enjoy- Farmer Sky
Sweet Corn!- Mini Mr. Marai
Cherry Tomatoes- Sun Gold, Sun Peach, Sweet Treats, White Cherry, Black Cherry, and MattÂ’s Wild. Do not refrigerate! Beefsteak Tomatoes- Moscovitch, Big Beef, and Brandywine. They are starting to come on strong!
Red Potatoes- Red Maria. Enjoy!
Basil- Just a bit. If you canÂ’t eat it you can freeze it and it will be a lovely addition to winter dishes.