In celebration of Thanksgiving, I'm offering a photo essay that documents a unique raising turkey collaboration in the one-time poultry capital of California, Petaluma. A local Slow Food group, whose members wanted to raise heritage breed turkeys as part of the organization’s efforts to save endangered food species, got together with the local 4H club, which was focused on breeding another endangered species, young farmers.
"Sometimes when I explain what we do people look at me like I'm a monster," Cathy Thode, one of the project's organizers, told me. "I see it differently. We've raised these birds from day one, we know everything they've ever eaten, and we know that right up to their last breath they were never once mistreated. If you're going to eat meat, well, I think this is the way it should be done."
While some of the images are not for the faint of heart, if you eat turkey, the story is worth a trip.
Images: © 2008 Lisa M. Hamilton