"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Slaughter Season (More Meat Math)

This week we made a lot of room on the farm. Most notably, the pig (seen here a couple of months ago) met his fate, at the capable hands of our local mobile butcher, later to appear in his final form as chops and bacon on our table. 

Half of him was sold, on Craigslist, for $3.00/lb. that's on the low end, but most of the pork that is advertised at a higher price has labels like "organic feed only" or "no GMO feed" attached to it, and ours doesn't. 

The hanging weight was 163 lbs, and half that is 81.5, times $3.00/lb and I collected $244.00. Considering that the pig himself cost us $200 originally, and that he was fed almost entirely from the gleaners' pantry (plus a couple bags of conventional feed), I think we did very well. Without figuring it to the penny, our own pork is basically free, not counting labor of course. 

Today I took the turkeys to a neighbor to be processed. I thought Homero would do it, but he asked me to see if I could find someone to do it at a reasonable
price, and I did. I paid $10 per bird, half in cash and half in grass fed beef. 

I'll be picking up two of them tomorrow morning - I needed one tonight for a person who is going out of town early on the morning. That turkey weighed a full 20 pounds, which is $80 at $4/lb. bigger than I expected - and frankly, bigger than the lady wanted. But what can you do? I didn't weigh them live. Suppose I might have. 

If the other two turkeys are the same weight, then I'll make a total of $160 on the turkeys (the third one is for our own table). So many turkeys died this year that I think we are not even breaking even. The chicks cost about $65. We started them on expensive game bird feed - another $20. After that they were also largely fed from the gleaners' pantry, but I know we bought at least four bags of feed, costing altogether about $65. Add that up, it's $150. So, let's say it worked out about the same as the pig - our own meat is free. 

If I could figure out how to keep turkey chicks alive to maturity, they would be very lucrative. We began with 8 this year, and ended up with three. In past years, the survival rate has been better (over 50%) but it's never been really satisfactory. People tell me that turkeys are fussy, hard to raise. I guess so. 

They sure are delicious, though. Thanksgiving is at my house this year. I'm looking forward to hostessing. No matter how costly, it is a real pleasure to offer my family a big traditional centerpiece that we raised ourselves. This will be the third year in a row that we have eaten our own pastured turkey for thanksgiving. It's always wonderful.