Many people dream of one day owning a farm, but few take the plunge into the pastoral lifestyle. Husband and wife Motty Katzir and Enat Halperin-Katzir were two such people dreaming of starting a farm in retirement. Motty, who grew up farming in Israel, then later on worked as a manager of Hudson Valley in New York, came to a realization one day; "I'm never going to retire". In September 2011, he went out and bought 3 goats, 20 ducklings, and 10 chickens. This was the beginning of Scooby's Organic Farm
One year later, the Katzir's have 140 layers, 25 ducks, 9 goats, a sheep, and a whole bunch of broad-breasted chickens. And their newest edition: Thanksgiving turkeys.
The Katzirs purchased the turkeys as poults at the start of the season and raise them until they are ready for your Thanksgiving table. From the day they are brought to the farm, the turkeys are fed an organic diet with no soy. The Katzirs are the local distributors for Countryside Organic (organic feed and seeds).
Like all the animals on the farm, the turkeys get to roam around wide open spaces. The Katzirs move them from yard to yard to ensure that they always have access to fresh grass, and extra grass clippings are also provided. Compost piles have been strategically set up around the farm to encourage the growth of different bugs and worms. They even raise mealworms indoors. The turkeys are encouraged to roost, forage, and explore just as they would in the wild.
All of this movement slows down the growth -- these animals grow about four to six weeks slower than conventionally-raised turkeys. By the time the turkeys are ready for processing, they will have consumed 50 to 100 pounds of feed and range in size from 8 to 18 pounds. Being that everything is organic, they are not as cheap as as your average conventional turkey in the supermarket. They cost about twice as much.
Compare these turkeys to the ones commonly found in Publix and you'll see stark differences. According to a Humane Society report titled The Welfare of Animals in the Turkey Industry, "The overwhelming majority of turkeys raised in the United States are reared in intensive confinement facilities, typically confined indoors in large, usually windowless, brooding and growing houses, with artificial light and ventilation. The environment is barren and crowded compared to the wild turkey's varied and complex natural habitat, and contains only litter flooring and an automated feed and water supply." These crowded conventional turkeys are fed a steady diet of antibiotics to prevent them from getting sick--which is rather common in the crowded conventional farm environment.
The Katzirs' main goal with the farm is to make sure the animals are treated as humanely as possible. Enat, who was a vegetarian for many years, says "beyond the health risks [of conventionally raised animals] it's for the love of animals. Our animals are raised organically, pasture fed and free-range all day, the way nature and God intended: no soy, hormones, medication, preservatives, GMOs or pesticides."
There are still some turkeys available at Scooby's Organic Farm for Thanksgiving. All customers must fill out a co-op membership, which discloses the the unconventional practices of the farm -- the of raw milk for pet consumption, details for handling eggs, etc. The cost of membership is $20 per year. It gives customer access to free-range eggs, chickens, and ducks year-round. And raw goat's milk, when available. All of the products are available directly from the farm, which is located in west Davie or through pick-up locations in Weston and Tamarac. The turkeys and chickens are also available at Marando farms
through their co-op program. If you would actually like to meet your turkey, Scooby's Organic Farm welcomes visitors Sundays and Wednesdays from 2 to 5 pm.
The farm had raised 60 turkeys total this year, and at press time had some left for sale. Call the farm for availability and pricing.