So we went to the farmer’s market today to pick up up our CSA share, and the farmer fixed us with a worried eye and said “Have you folks bought a turkey?”
“We’ve reserved one of yours, yeah.”
He nodded slowly. “And, um…how many people do you have coming to Thanksgiving dinner?”
Kevin and I did some math. “Uh…nine? I think?”
The farmer sighed. “I was sort of hoping you’d say thirty-five…”
He went into the cooler and pulled out a turkey drumstick the size of my forearm, only a lot bigger around. Kevin and I stared at it. It made the ones you get at the Ren Faire look like hot wings.
“We prepped five of them, since people wanted turkey, and…well…they’re huge,” said the farmer sadly. “They wouldn’t fit in the pot to scald them.* I had to get a 55 gallon drum and slice the top off. It took two men to lower one in.”
“What are you feeding them?”
“Nothing unusual! They’re free-range!” (They are, too. I’ve seen them, they just wander around the farmyard climbing on things and picking stuff up the ground. These are very active turkeys.) “The breed is just…heirloom….we didn’t expect…” He made vague gestures, not unlike those most of us make when trying to describe my friend Carlota. (The “vast tracts of land” gesture. You know the one.) “The live weight on the things is forty-nine pounds.”
This is a large animal. This is a bird substantially larger than our beagle. Kevin, who had been thinking of deep-frying the turkey, realized that it wouldn’t actually fit in the pot. I vetoed any notion of getting a 55-gallon drum of our own.
Kevin said that we’d warn our family.
“Could you ask them invite a few strangers?” asked the farmer hopefully. “Maybe…twenty or so…?”
God help us all.
*You scald fowl in boiling water prior to plucking to loosen the feathers, as I understand it, although someone may correct me if I’ve got the wrong end of the bird there.