Time for Turkey!

It's that time again! The field is full of colorful trees, yellow sunshine, and gobbling birds! We are currently taking orders for our organically certified, pasture raised turkeys. You can order them for pick-up here at the farm, or purchase one through our friends at the Farm Stand in South Portland, Farmers' Gate Market in Wales, and Uncle Dean's Good Groceries in Waterville.

Prices will vary at the retail locations, for our on farm pick-up turkeys are $5.25/pound. We offer three size ranges

 Small 10-13 lbs

the small size turkeys are frozen, harvested early to ensure their diminutive stature ;)

Medium 14-18 lbs

Large 19+

What Makes Our Turkeys So Special? 
At Grace Pond Farm, all of our birds are MOFGA certified organic. That doesn’t only mean that they get the healthiest, 100%organic, GMO free grain available from a small New England company (which they do!) – it also ensures that our birds are raised and harvested in accordance with very strict measures that ensure humane treatment from the brooder, to the field, to your table. We take care of them, and we care about them. The turkeys are out on pasture full time, with a mobile house for shelter; they sing their songs and eat fresh grass in our fields every day.  
“Organic” (rather than just “all-natural”) is more expensive, but we believe that the time, thoughtfulness, and start to finish quality, makes that worth every penny. 

Let's Talk Cooking Pastured Poultry!

  

Are Pastured Birds harder to cook (and more importantly keep tender) than conventionally raised birds? We vote no - as long as you are mindful of a couple of things: time and temp. The mantra we use around here for all of our grass-fed & pastured meats is "low and slow". According to the USDA guidelines, turkey (and chicken!) is done at 165 degrees internal temp. Here are a few tricks of the trade to keep it tender and juicy:

1.)     Use a meat thermometer! Ours is a small, digital Taylor and it ran me 3.00 at the store. When folks buy our boxes of grass-fed beef for the first time, we actually pass these out with purchase because that thermometer can save you a lot of money in lost, chewy meat. Your bird will continue to cook in the roaster after you remove it from the heat. I pull my bird out at 160 and let it rise to 165. You can wait to pull it at 165, but take the roaster lid off right away when you do and that will slow the cooking process.

2.)   Breast Side Down – those breasts with their delicate white meat are the first to give up their moisture. We cook our birds breast side down to make sure that they are safely covered in the drippings in the pan, taking up moisture as they cook.

3.)   Keep the stuffing separate – I know, I know. This is one of those things that people have VERY strong feelings about. There are folks firmly rooted in the “Grandma’s stuffing – inside the bird – was the best stuffing I ever had” camp and there will be no changing now. There are also people who have approached me asking about the safety of cooking stuffing inside the bird with regard to possible bacteria etc…Here’s my advice to everyone, in all the stuffing villages: make your stuffing on the side. I’m not in the business of disparaging Grandma’s recipe, or making claims about food safety (okay, well, I kind of tend to do that – but not right now), I AM in the business of making sure that you enjoy that bird to its fullest and stuffing on the side is the way to do that. Why?? Dehydrated bread absorbs moisture from the bird, so your juicy stuffing actually creates a less juicy turkey. Instead, we stuff our bird with the moisture giving treats that then get mixed into the stuffing afterward! I use apple, onion, and celery (rolled around in a bowl with thyme, sage and a little olive oil) in large pieces, and stuff the bird with that. It imparts good flavor to the bird, as well as lots of moisture!

4.)   Basting the turkey can dry it out – If the crispy skin is a favorite treat, try waiting until the bird is almost done temp wise, and then removing the cover, turning up the heat and them keeping a close eye on it, for the last few minutes of cooking. Braising it with butter while doing this will help crisp up the skin for you without turning it into a dry experience.

So, there you have it! Our tricks for a super tender, delicious pastured bird. There is no need to be intimidated, and no reason to make the same mistakes that have already been made (by me, I mean I’ve learned these things the hard way). You can enjoy a tasty meal and all of the compliments that go along with serving it up!

Counting our blessings out loud

For our first post on our finally in progress website, I wanted to re-share our Thanksgiving post. We are still reeling from a wonderful season and already planning for the Spring, but we are remembering to enjoy this slower pace and taking time to be mindful of our good fortune.

It was hard to imagine back in July all of the things we would be so thankful for here in our new home, far down route 1 from Washington County. Now, we have spent a wonderful week with friends and family counting our blessings and I realize that the list is endless. A few highlights: Over 200 families/friends/folks sat down to a holiday meal and counted their own blessings with one of our turkeys on the table ~ this feels like such an honor, I cannot adequately express that. We are beyond grateful to the folks that included us in their celebrations this week and supported our family farming in Maine, you are amazing people - thank you! The relationships that we've forged with our local food and community partners are such a blessing to us; Ben from Farmers' Gate Market, and The Farm Stand, Annie at Uncle Dean's Good Groceries, Diane at Myers Poultry Farm, Greg at Morrison's Custom Feeds, Tom and Lynn, and our good friends and farm family partners, Andy, Caitlin and Linus at The Milkhouse are just a few of the people that work hard to bring happy, healthy food to our communities this year. And finally thank you to the friends and family that have held our hands and provided endless hugs, love and words of encouragement in our lives on the road to our Grace Pond Farm. Some of these beloved folks will only ever be able to join our table through our own hearts, but the seats they hold there are theirs forever and we honor them always. Thank you friends! ~ Gregg, Rhiannon, Ruby and Maden