Every year around this time, my brain automatically brings up a vivid but strange image from my past. I’m crouched down in a muddy pasture, trying like hell to keep my fingers from freezing, surrounded on all sides by several dozen turkeys. They’re wearing dark, creepy feathers and making sounds that are a mix of guttural clucks and the culturally insensitive Chinese “waaaaaaaahhh” we all yelled when threatening to do karate as kids. No, I’m not hallucinating.
I’m remembering a cool story I wrote for Vermont’s Local Banquet Magazine a few years ago about heritage breed turkeys, part of which involved crouching with Kevin (my photographer/husband) inside a turkey pen to get some good shots for the article. I was fairly certain I’d lose a finger to frostbite, but you can’t very well take legible notes with big old gloves on. (Turns out you can’t take legible notes when you’ve lost feeling in your fingers and your pen’s ink is all gummed up from the cold, either.)
Anyway, check out the story and see how different these heirloom birds are from their big-boobed, modern grocery story cousins.