Few of us in New York City have raised turkeys or lived near those who have, but as our publisher, Brian Halweil, just noted in his own little Edible (that would be the one on Long Island’s East End) like other farm animals, they often become far more than a source of protein. Like the Tom above, a Narragansett turkey that lived at Ludlow Farm on Mecox Lane in the Hamptons — “shadowing visitors and intimidating some small children with his puffed up posture and dangling gobble,” as Brian says in the article, titled “In Memoriam: Tom” — until he was hit by a car on Independence Day. “Tom was really more like a dog than a turkey,” said Stacy Ludlow,” one of Tom’s owners. “He wanted to be with people.”
“Yes, farm animals can clear stubble from a field or mow a vineyard,” Brian writes: “They can replenish our soil, keep away pests, give us milk and eggs, and when the time ultimately comes, they contribute meat and hide and bones. And maybe because they remind us so plainly of mortality, they also become part of our family.” And for that, Toms everywhere, we thank you.