Today’s post is more of an introduction to some friends of mine you may not have met yet than a report on dinner (if you’re dying to know, we got home after 7 from picking up the very last of our CSA boxes and I made pork tenderloin with apples – in under 20 minutes – which we ate with carrots from the farm and cherry tomatoes from the back yard). Thanksgiving is imminent, and I’ve been chatting with them, wondering how they can stay so upbeat and chipper the busiest week of their year, and realized I never did share the farm visit we made over a month ago now – on the first day of school, in fact.
If you’ve not yet had the pleasure of their acquaintance, this is Darrel and Corrine. They raise turkeys on the 480 acre farm Darrel was born on (not literally, but he lived there from that day on) in the southern Alberta hamlet of Dalemead, just 3 km south of highway 22X along a Canadian Pacific Railway line.
Darrel and Corrine are always at food-related events, supportive of our community, offering up help to anyone who needs it and welcoming visitors to their farm, where they keep a flock of about 11,000 birds. They’re always smiling – and leave me (and W) smiling each time I see them.
All Winter’s turkeys are free-range (meaning a meat-free diet and access to forage in a large outside yard), hormone and antibiotic-free. Their diet consists of whole grains – wheat and hay grown in fields alongside the turkey houses and garden – blended with soy, flax and canola meal. The turkeys live on the open, sunny farm, with lots of room to roam and new straw bedding provided regularly by Corinne, Darrel and their daughter, Laurel.
Their turkeys take 17-19 weeks to grow, although some Toms (male turkeys) can take 29 weeks to reach their full size. (To compare, commercial turkeys are sent to market at 13 weeks, far before their prime.) The birds are processed in a small family-owned facility in St. Paul, Alberta and frozen naturally-many commercial varieties are immersion or spray-frozen in food-grade propylene glycol.
I’m a turkey fan, so their birds aren’t limited to once or twice a year around here. (And luckily they’ve decided to make the foray into turkey sausage – it’s lean and wonderful!) If you’re looking for a good-quality, locally raised and processed bird for your dinner table, pick up one of Darrel and Corrine’s. Winter’s turkeys are available at Calgary Co-op stores, and can be ordered at smaller groceries like Valta Bison and Planet Organic.
OK, I have a recipe for you too. I did this for a recent issue of Swerve magazine, the one that comes out every Friday in the Calgary Herald.