Saturday, November 17, 2012

Turkeys turkeys everywhere

We are at the halfway point in the 2012 turkey harvest. So far its been a good year, even amid the long hours and hard work.

Thus far we processed and brined and delivered to the smokehouse all the turkeys due for smoking. Everything went smoothly with them.

The second phase was processing all the turkeys to be delivered brined. As of tonight these are all resting comfortably in a near freezing brine for the weekend. This required two full days of work... pretty much dawn to dusk.

That brings us to a much needed day of rest. The equipment is cleaned and waiting for three more intense days next week in the final phase.

Our setup this year has been the best yet... other than a little quirk with the gas valve on the scalder... all went smoothly. We even set up a very nice radiant propane heater pointing into the covered work area. That one addition was a godsend! These heaters were purchased for the milking room but... from experience I k ow that the cold and Constant wetness of processing is the hardest part of thus job in the fall. The heater worked like magic... easily doubling our energy level and ability to get things done. What a blessing!

We also modified the running water outlets to give them a smooth gentle rain pattern. This stops splatter thematic just made things miserable. Plus we added vinyl aprons, heat resistent dunking gloves, and cut resistant cloth processing gloves.  All together it was the most comfortable and productive processing experience to date.

For Beijing we converted an extra large chest freezer. Inside is large food grade plastic buckets filled with brine and stuffed tight with turkeys. An external thermostat with a probe on the Brining  bucket holds the liquid temperature at 34 degrees.

Monday we try out our new packaging method and equipment. Heat shrink plastic bags and a large outdoor burner. We also added hokloks... those metal wire holders that keep the legs in place during processing and packaging.  The end result will be a very professional looking bird.

So... a day of rest... then back hard at it for three more days... and we will be giving thanks!

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