Sunday, 11 October 2009


Dear Turkey Farmers of Ontario:

You know, I really like turkey. I used to have one every Thanksgiving, and was very happy to have another at Christmas. In addition, I used to like to buy a thigh or two at various times throughout the year. (We're a dark-meat family.) Ground turkey was very useful for meatloaf, burgers and other such dishes.

Note the past tense. Apparently the remains of my last turkey are presently residing in my fridge. It was a lovely turkey; lean but juicy, flavourful and moist but with a robust texture. It was an organic, pastured turkey.

And there's the problem.

Thanks to your short-sighted protectionism of the status-quo, I understand the organic, pastured turkey may be a thing of the past, at least in Ontario. Please do not suppose I will be going back to mushy, bland industrially farmed turkey if I can't get a pastured turkey because I won't. I will eat something else altogether.

It is also of no use to suppose that organic standards can be changed to allow organic turkeys to be raised in confined circumstances. I don't buy - nobody buys - organic turkeys because they are labelled organic. We buy them because the fact that they are organic is supposed to mean something. One of the things it's supposed to mean is that these turkeys were raised on pasture, and have seen the light of day during their reasonably turkey-like lives. Changing the standards will simply mean that the word organic becomes meaningless. It won't change what more and more consumers are looking for in their poultry, today and in the future.

We're looking for decency and safety in farming practices, and flavour and quality in our food - and I don't believe for a second that packing birds into a warehouse to stand shoulder to shoulder in their own shit, and dosing them with antibiotics is the way to achieve either of those.

I've tasted the difference in flavour and quality in pastured poultry.

It's too late. You've lost me as a customer. There is only one way to get me back. And that's to allow - nay, encourage - Ontario farmers to raise pastured, preferably organic, turkeys.

Regards, Ferdzy

p.s. I encourage my readers to contact the Turkey Farmers of Ontario, and Ontario Minister of Agriculture Leona Dombrowski to express your views on this tribunal ruling.

c.c. Leona Dombrowsky


ontariofood said...

When organic is outlawed, only outlaws will eat organic.

Cookie said...

Hi, I've been reading this blog for a while now but haven't commented. I love it a lot!

I just read this arcticle ( and remembered this post - if you haven't seen it yet I thought it would be of interest.

Keep up the good work!

Ferdzy said...

Yes, I did read that! It's encouraging to think that yelling loudly at your government when they stuff things up *does* occasionally work.