No doubt it has been a couple of months since my last post, but what 7 weeks away on the Global Focus Program travelling the world has taught me, is that as much as I want everything in life, some things must wait. Okay, so in this case, I took a short break from Nuffield to focus at home and work.
I have essentially spent the last couple of months enjoying the remainder of summer and early autumn routines with my family as well as the timely return to my professional career at the bank. I am truly blessed to have family, neighbours and co-workers who carried 100% of the responsibility while away, yet it seems as unfinished business always remained.
I was struck this morning as I walked into my office a bronze turkey caught my eye at the local boutique next to the bank, out front on the discount rack, in need of a caring home. How could I not resist? It now sits perched on my desk at the office. But what it reminded me of were thoughts and obsessions over the most perfectly cooked turkey this past Thanksgiving weekend. Not only one, but we enjoyed three Doan Family raised birds, essentially these were grown over my Nuffield GFP, so perhaps I cannot take any responsibility for their greatness, nor the cooking of these birds.
My Thanksgiving weekend was consumed with a message that Paul Kelly, of Kelly Bronze Turkey’s in the UK told me in April. His message has stuck with me: “People often eat turkey once a year during the holidays, when they over cook and dry out the bird, it creates a negative experience of tasteless and tough turkey, therefore driving away their desire to purchase turkey at other times in the year”. Given that the future of Canadian turkey farming is based on the growing trends of year round, valued added turkey meat, meant for grilling, substituting for BBQ steak, a leaner alternative to hamburger and a ‘super food’ that should displace salmon, I felt threatened by providing my own family and friends with an experience of poorly prepared turkey.
No worries readers, Kathryn and my extended family did a wonderful job cooking up the turkeys this year. But, had they followed the age old cook books of weight, time and temperatures, these birds would have been cooked nearly twice over causing the problematic experience that so many people face. The over cooking issues is compounded by the ongoing fear of undercooked poultry and the risk of food poisoning from salmonella. Again, I think back to my time with Paul Kelly and how every purchaser of their premium turkey receives detailed cooking instructions and a thermometer with every bird, because their brand relies on repeat customers having a memorable experience.
I do hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, were able to spend time with family and friends, at the same time as reflecting on the wondrous availability of safe and nutritious food, grown and cared for by Canadian farmers. As I tie this post back to my Nuffield experience, I have learned many things, but a recurring message is that we must continually engage our consumer with the messages of how and why as farmers we do what we do.
The title of my research project remains: Evaluating poultry markets to ensure Canada’s supply management system is efficient and innovative. Now that the one day holiday ‘Thanksgiving’ has ended, it is about creating these connections to food and poultry the other 364 days of the year.