Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Slow Food Tufts members process pastured poultry

As much of society moves farther from knowing where food comes from, members of Slow Food Tufts are fearless: they spent a full day helping to slaughter and process chickens at the farm of Tufts’ very own Jennifer Hashley (of the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project) and her husband Pete Lowy. Pete and Jen’s Backyard Birds raises high-quality, humanely-grown chickens, pigs, some sheep, and even a few rabbits out in Concord, MA. On October 9, they graciously invited Slow Food Tufts to visit their farm and learn how to process chickens.

By Jacqueline Minichiello

Our nerves were a little shaky that morning as we embarked on an experience that for many of us was our first and for some would be our last. We signed the forms, suited up and then were employed at either the slaughtering and de-feathering or the eviscerating and cleaning station of the Mobile Poultry Processing Unit (MPPU). The MPPU is essentially a flatbed trailer decorated with countless hoses, tubes, ice chests, buckets, and bottles.

Jennifer demonstrated the process once and then a freshly slaughtered chicken was placed in front of each of us. The process was slow and interesting as we acclimated to our task. While some of us were less timid than others, everyone was taken back when we heard Juli’s bird clucking! And then the sound was duplicated by some of the other birds!

After overcoming the disturbing noises, we worked hard to follow the steps carefully and thoroughly: loosen crop, remove neck, circumvent backside, pull out innards….repeat. We remained in good spirits and asked plenty of questions. After processing over 400 chickens, we were nearly chicken processing experts, but we all decided that we had had enough (the process is exhausting!). Then, a few brave souls volunteered to do the actual slaughtering.

By then end of the day we were full of pride, worn-out, and very smelly (it took two showers to get my chicken smell off). But it was entirely worth it! The unique experience provided us with the opportunity to actually play a role in our food system, and one that is sustainable. Being part of Slow Food means being aware and knowledgeable about farm-to-fork issues, and for the group that took on this less-than-glamorous challenge, we can say that we now know how to slaughter our own chickens!

1 comment:

  1. great detail about Slow Food Tufts....... thanx for giving detail...happy after reading your blog...appreciate to you on this...