Useful and sharable resources for animal-based foods... that aren't scary. LEARN MORE.

Minute details for this year's on demand turkeys

written by

Marie Reedell

posted on

September 18, 2020

Bear with me this week. I have a bunch of interesting turkey details to share with you. 

This year the turkeys will be on demand! That means you order one when you need one. No preorders this year.

Fall turkeys will start going to the processor in September and will continue to be sent through November. That means that you can start ordering whole turkeys soon! As of right now, there are some turkey cuts available.

Here are the basics - Our turkeys are a “white” breed, live on green pasture, and are naturally raised and processed.

Once they are a couple weeks old and can tolerate chilly nights, our turkeys live 100% on green pasture. They are moved daily so the pasture stays fresh, and they leave behind wonderfully fertilized soil.

In addition to what they can forage, the turkeys eat a soy-free, corn-free, and GMO-free feed (a lot more on that below). They aren’t given hormones or antibiotics.

When processed, we don’t add any junk in our turkeys. They aren’t injected with artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, tenderizers, or anything synthetic.

I am always wanting to find out more about how my food was produced. This year, I’m diving deep to answer the question, “What’s in the feed?” 

I mean, I know the feed ingredients, but where do they come from? How are they produced? Why are they needed? To find out, I called our feed supplier, Vernon from Panorama Organic in Berks County, PA. Here’s what I found out.

The turkey feed is specially formulated blend of wheat, field peas or lentils, flaxseed and flaxseed oil, barley, fishmeal, kelp, molasses, and a nutri-balancer. Vernon works with Fertrell, the organic mineral supplier, to figure out the best blend. 

Fertrell uses computer models to analyze feed mixes for optimal nutrition based on protein, energy, metabolism, etc. Then, Vernon makes small changes based on what he sees first hand - what’s working and what’s not working. Vernon is both a farmer and a feed supplier. This process is constantly happening. He’s always supplying the best feed possible.

100% of the ingredients in the feed are grown in the US or comes from the Atlantic Ocean. That’s pretty neat!

Here are some notes on the feed components:

Wheat (20%) - When compared to corn, wheat is higher in protein, amino acids, and energy content. The gluten in the wheat helps the feed bind together in naturally forming pellets. The wheat is grown and sourced with the same standards as the corn (above).

Field peas or lentils (40%) - Peas and lentils are a good protein and energy source and are often used as a soy replacer in feeds. But, you can’t feed too much otherwise you may have issues with digestion. These are “certified organic” and come from North Dakota, South Dakota, or Montana. Sometimes Vernon buys direct from farmers he knows and sometimes he uses a broker like Organic Valley Brokering.

Flaxseed and flaxseed oil (20%) - Flax is one of the most concentrated sources of unsaturated fatty acids and results in a healthier fat profile in the turkeys. Feeding flaxseed results in a huge increase in omega-3 fatty acids, especially in the white meat. The flaxseed and flax oil is grown and sourced with the same standard as the peas and lentils (above).

Barley - This is used sparingly, because too much can make sticky droppings. It provides energy but is mainly used for its fatty acids. Barley contains twice the amount of fatty acids as wheat. This all comes from local PA farms within 20 miles of the mill. It is either “certified organic” or “grown organically”.

Fishmeal - The fish meal is used in the ration both as a great source of protein and amino acids, but also because it attracts the birds to their feed and actually helps them digest it better. The fishmeal is sourced from Fertrell. It is a 100% whole sardine meal that is wild-caught off the coast of South America. The fishery has a sustainability certificate so they only harvest what they can take to sustainably keep the fish population going for the future. They use mixed tocopherols as the preservative (the only preservative allowed under organic regulations) and never use Ethoxyquin. 

Kelp - This is an excellent and natural source of vitamins and minerals. It boosts the turkeys’ immune systems, bone health, and overall well-being. The kelp comes from Fertrell. It is Acadian kelp, harvested off the northern US and Canadian coasts.

Molasses - Molasses is added for flavor and minerals but mostly because it settles the dust created by the feed. Just a little molasses is added, about 15 lb per ton of feed. The molasses comes from Honey Brook, PA. It is “certified organic”. 

Nutri-balancer - This comes from Fertrell and is called the “poultry pre-mix”. It gives extra vitamins and minerals and also helps the birds metabolize. It contains ingredients like calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, salt, and lactic acid bacteria and a bunch of other bacterias.

Once all the feed ingredients are sourced, Panorama Organic grinds the feed in its mill or Vernon’s nephew’s nearby mill. Nowadays this kind of local craft milling is extremely unique.

In Vernon’s area, there used to be mills on every other street corner. But then the “Walmart effect” came into agriculture. Now there are mega mills that small farmers and small mills cannot compete with. It’s just one more reason that high quality nutrient-dense food costs more.

I personally am so thankful for farmers like Aaron from Miller’s Bio Farm and Vernon from Panorama Organic. My family owes its health to them. 

Questions about anything? I’m happy to look into it for you. Really, it’s my pleasure.


Pastured Meat

Farming Practices

More from the blog

Useful and sharable resources for animal-based foods... that aren't scary

When did you go down the rabbit hole and learn about the benefits of eating clean, animal-based foods? For me, it was when I was pregnant with my first child. I thought I was eating healthfully... but then my eyes were opened to so much more than is taught in health class and is accepted as "common knowledge" of the time. And, come on, the internet can be such a scary place to learn about food. Eggs definitely give you high cholesterol. Drinking raw milk will definitely kill you. Lucky Charms are definitely healthier than grass-fed beef(anyone else see that NIH study about the new Food Compass rating system? Ugh). Who funds this stuff?But once you find trusted sources (you know, the ones backed with unbiased research and typically not served to you by Google), you can't unlearn it. And, the more you learn, the more you want to learn. And, once you gain your food confidence, you want to share it, too!Heck, if you're daring, maybe you even want to convert your friends that love fast food, are always on the latest trendy diet, or are vegan (gasp!).Diet can strangely be a tough topic of conversation. After all, what you choose to put in your body is such a personal choice. And once someone makes that choice, they often have strong convictions that are hard to break. In my personal experience, anything contrary to someone's reality will be received as a "conspiracy". But, hey, that doesn't mean you shouldn't start the conversation if you want to!And an important note: At Miller's Bio Farm, we support each person's food choices! It's something that you and only you can decide. And we hope that you transfer that same respect to others, even if your viewpoints differ 😊So, this week, I started an amazing resource for you (and maybe even your friends) ----- ANIMAL-BASED RESOURCE LIST MILLER'S BIO FARM BLOGOur blog is full of great animal-based articles. However, they're mostly about farming practices, the nitty gritty on food ingredients, and cooking techniques... not necessarily health (as those claims can be risky for a company to make). Here's a quick list of our most popular blog posts about health: The PUFA Predicament: A Look Into Healthy FatsWhat is milk kefir? How's it made? What are the health benefits?The Art of Fermentation: Exploring the Health Benefits of All-Natural SalamiWhat is bioavailability? How to get what you need to be healthy.How are primal carnivore urges affected when you're surrounded by tons of food?Heart health and dairy fat are linked in a very good way. WEBSITES Realmilk.com (raw milk specific)Raw Milk Institute (raw milk specific)Weston A. Price Foundation Global Food JusticeDr. Kiltz SOCIAL MEDIA Lindasy - @animalbased bae (IG)Rachael Elizabeth - @ribeyerach (IG)Sustainable Dish (IG and FB)Weston A Price Foundation (IG and FB)Chris Irvin - @theketologist (IG)Dr. Gabeiwlle Lyon (IG)Dr. Bill Shindler (IG)Dr. Paul Saladino (IG)Nourishing Our Children (IG and FB)Strong Sistas (IG)Ancestral Health Society (FB)Joey Jurgovan - @joeysorts (IG)Lineage Provisions - @lineageprovisions (IG)Olivia Robertson-Moe, NTP - @revolveprimalhealth (IG)Judy Cho - @nutritionwithjudy (IG)Liz Haselmayer - @homegrown_education (IG)The Primal Bod - @theprimalbody (IG)Lily Nichols RDN - @lilynicholsrdn (IG)Animal Based Nutrition - @freddie_alves (IG) PODCASTS The Regaissance Podcast BOOKS Nourishing Traditions CookbookThe Untold Story of Raw MilkPottinger's Cats: A Study in NutritionEat Like a HumanThe Carnivore CodeThe Plant ParadoxSoil, Grass, and CancerThe Big Fat Surprise ----- Ok, I know I'm missing a lot here. Please, help! What animal-based, real food resources do you love? Have any suggestions to add to our list? Comment below (no account required - start typing for the guest option to appear) or contact us!

Separating cream at home. Here are some options and advice for success.

Want to separate the cream from your non-homogenized milk at home? Maybe you just want to have some fun in the kitchen. Maybe you want to learn about how to make homemade dairy products at home, like the olden days. Or, maybe you want more self sufficiency (which can sometimes be more affordable, too) and make as much as you can with your own two hands. Here are the 4 most common ways to separate cream at home, with tips for success.