Thanksgiving in Vermont is a magical time filled with anticipation: the Garlic is planted and mulched; the naked trees afford views of early snow on nearby mountain tops; friends and family are on their way home for dinner.
Organic Local Turkey is on the menu and also in the garlic. After culling and planting the best of last year’s seed garlic, we planted 36,000 cloves, or just over 1200 pounds and mulched with hay. A few weeks ago a local flock of about 30 wild turkeys stopped by to feast on the few seeds remaining in the hay. The birds have become regulars. It’s the ultimate symbiotic relationship: the turkeys eat the seeds we don’t want and leave behind the fertilizer we love. We expect a yield of about 7,000 pounds of garlic.
Turkey guano may not be appropriate conversation for the Thanksgiving dinner table, but it is all the rage at our organic garlic farm. Technically guano is the excrement of bats, seabirds, and seals, but for the sake of polite company, let’s use the term here to describe the gifts our local turkeys deposit at the garlic farm.
Most commercial fertilizer is manufactured chemically using a process that involves natural gas, phosphate rock, potash, and sulphur. Fossil fuels are used in the power production, mining, and transportation of these types of fertilizers. By contrast, turkey guano, an organic nitrogen-rich fertilizer, is transported by feathers. When it comes to organic growing techniques and local food, feathers are a much preferred means of broadcasting the riches.
By the way, guano is also an effective ingredient in gunpowder. Mixed with Purple Stripes garlic, we could have something really explosive.