Located at the base of Buckhorn Mountain at 6700' elevation, Buckhorn Gardens is a small, organic vegetable farm 13mi. south of Montrose, Colorado. Our farm is an active part of a 12,000 acre ranch; however, we only manage 3 acres with intensive vegetable gardening.

Monday, December 3, 2012

This entry is called a retrospect, much like a reflection in a way, since we haven’t made an entry to the blog for several months. But I’ll offer you no apologies. Our hard work was on display at the three markets (T-ride, Ridgway, and Montrose) for all the locals and visitors of the western slope to take home and enjoy. We trust that you enjoyed the fruits of our labor and the flavor expressions of our garden’s precious soil as much as we did this year.
During the month of July and later in August, Laura Parker asked us interns if we were interested in learning how to process chickens to distribute to her customers. Laura pasture raised 150 label rouge/ Cornish cross hens this summer on lush, green fields at her family’s property located just up the road from Buckhorn. The Parkers are a farming/ranching family, so Laura’s a little bit deeper and more experienced in farming than we are at this stage, but we’re quickly catching up. Our participation in chicken processing was one of those farming experiences that we had to choose to learn. When Laura first asked us at the farmer’s market for our help I had a slight feeling of hesitation.  But through a handful of situations over the course of this year, I have learned to analyze my initial impulses of hesitation, anticipation, and confusion to understand these as only personal impulses. Once I understand them as impulses or initial feelings I can then decide to release them to ensure the feelings aren’t limiting me from a potential experience. My decision was to say “yes”, as did Ben and likewise Morgan, an intern this summer at Circle A farm.
                On July 15th, the three of us rode our bikes about twelve miles down Kinikin Road to Kinikin Processing where the Parkers were already set up and busy processing the first hens. I tucked four of our own hens from Buckhorn into the blue tote loaded on my longbike for us to process as well. I didn’t hear a peep from them the whole ride to the facilities (or on the ride back either). 
We processed about 60 hens for this first batch. The second batch of processing later in August went much quicker. 

I’ll skip to the chase. Processing chickens goes like this:
Bird placed into the cone head first >

dunk in scalder > set bird in plucker machine > 

eviscerate plucked bird >

clean, double check evisceration > keep bird on ice > vacuum pack the bird for freezing/fresh pickup.

I thought my first time at processing chickens went quickly.
 I kept my mind focused on the appearance of what I was doing at the time, experiencing the smells and sounds of the whole process. It really was a nice learning experience and I’d be honored to help again.


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