Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thing 233 Pluck A Turkey

Oh lordy did I ever get some serious stick for this one. Cruel is just about the nicest of the seven texts I got from people giving out. Have to admit, it was a little strange. First of all, here's how it works; Siobhan from the Ray Darcy show rings and says "hey, let's do something Christmassy for The Project". Sounds good. What do you have in mind... Enter Ronan, The Friendly Farmer. He's from Athenrye. He rears bronze turkeys, geese, chickens, ducks and other fowl for you to eat for your dinner. One way or another all the birds are going to be ending up on someone's plate.

It's not like I bust into a nursery for turkeys with genius level potential, and robbed one that was engaged to be married and who's fiance had one in the oven. This was a bird reared well, fed well and looked after, but a bird ultimately destined for the dinner plate. Having said that it was alarming to see Ronan dispatch the turkey. I want to go into detail, but I think I'll spare you...
That's Ronan there with Turkey. It's kind of important to point out that The Friendly Farmer doesn't normally dispatch birds himself. There's an abattoir for that, but Ronan is an experienced farmer and he takes care of the birds that he intends to put on his family dinner plate.

I know it's alarming for some people, but I think it's an awful lot better for someone to know where their dinner came from, and know that it's well looked after. Unless you're eating in McDonald's, in which case squeeze your eyes shut, enjoy the taste and hope for the best... That's not how you want to eat Christmas dinner though is it... That's how you eat leftovers the next day... In hope, through your hangover, trying not to die...
So anyway, there's two types of plucking (I said PLucking, I know what you're like with your filthy mind, for shame). Dry and Wet plucking. Dry plucking involves simply pulling feathers immediately after the birds' are dispatched. Wet plucking involves steeping the bird in water for about seven or eight minutes after dispatch to loosen the skin and make it easier for the "townie" who's inappropriately dressed for farm work. In case you missed that description, I'm talking about myself. I was really poorly attired for freezing snow and Baltic conditions. I'm crap at being a farmer apparently.

Tell you what I'm not so shabby at though... feather plucking.

Ronan warned me that I'd make a pure shambles of it, and that I'd be a complete disaster. Nice to know he had high hopes for me... ahem. Mind you, I pretty much figured that myself. I know that I've already said this, but I'm not the world's most outdoorsy person... Still, the turkey was successfully plucked in under fifteen minutes (with just a little help from The Friendly Farmer himself). To be fair, it took me five minutes of that time to get over the shock of seeing poor Turkey get dispatched.

It's remarkable how little things can affect you... I'll have more appreciation for my dinner this Christmas Day...

And by the way... if you feel like ordering online from The Friendly Farmer, here's the link:


  1. Hmm.. of all the lovely Christmassy things you could have come up with...

  2. My Uncle had a turkey farm, and I went down one december 30 years ago or so, to make a few bob plucking turkeys. Hardest money I ever earned, I learned to smoke with a cigarette dangling out of the side of my mouth to obscure the stench with smoke!! You may not have enjoyed the one off experience, but it could have been much much worse!!!!!