Tag Archives: turkey

Forget the BRICs it’s the CIVETS now – the new developing world

The past decade was all about the BRICs, the massive economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, which kicked off at the beginning of the new century, boomed and are now slowing like the rest of the developed world. Taking their place is a new group of fast-rising economies promising businesses outsized returns.

The next decade could belong to the CIVETS – Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa – whose rising middle class, young populations and rapid growth rates make the BRICs look dull in comparison.

Hardly emerging economies anymore – China is the world’s second largest economy and Brazil will take seventh place this year – that their pace would slow down was inevitable.

Now more connected by trade to the developed economies, the BRICs are feeling the same slowdown effects as the developed economies.  And, in the case of China and Brazil, they are also wrestling with the strains of their rapid ascensions. Real estate bubbles, currency control issues and hyper-wage inflation are sending global companies elsewhere for growth.

Brazil is forecast to grow a mere 3% this year. China, while still targeting a strong GDP growth rate of 7-8% in 2012, is well off its double-digit rates of the past decade. Russia, meanwhile, which can’t kick its dependency on oil exports and endured the retrograde re-election of Vladimir Putin, may grind out 3.2% growth this year. India is also slowing, with a GDP target of 6.9% growth in 2012, a sharp decline from its 2010 pace of 9.6%.

The CIVETS, meanwhile, are at the lift-off point…

 

Keep readingThe decade of the CIVETS

 

 

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Price comparison of Thanksgiving turkeys: supermarket vs humanely raised

I hate to say it, but the cost of a supermarket turkey is cheaper than ever. Here are two ads from Safeway showing that they will guarantee the lowest price.

Depending on where you sit this either the best or worst thing ever. To me it means that thousands of turkeys are created in a lab and then hormone and drug injected to survive adulthood while living in a tiny torture-cell with tens of thousands of other birds.

The next best alternative to this is the same breed of turkey but grown in humane conditions and without all the drugs. This is called free range and drug-free (hormone free, antibiotic free).

The price of these birds at Whole Foods is nearly four times more at $2.50 per pound. Instead of $7 we paid $35.

That’s quite a premium for the doing the right thing. There is definitely something wrong with a system that so heavily rewards us for doing the wrong thing.

My Family Thanksgiving 2011 – Organic, Local, and Sustainable

The Lineup

Butternut Squash Soup
Turkey
Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Bread/Rolls
Vegetables (corn on the cob)
Cranberry
Stuffing
Pumpkin/Apple Pie
Whipped Cream

Sourcing

Butternut Squash Soup: Farmers Market. Gourd. Cut in half, remove seeds, bake till a knife slides out easily. Usually 40+ minutes at 350-400. Then, remove the skin, add water, and blend. Also, consider nutmeg and cinnamon for flavor. The perfect Thanksgiving appetizer.

Turkey: Whole Foods sells Free Range, Organic, and Heritage turkeys. All are way more expensive than the $5 dollar supermarket birds, but buying a smaller bird makes it okay. Not as many leftovers but a better conscience.

Mashed Potatoes: Potatoes aplenty at the farmers market.

Bread/Rolls: Every farmers market has a bread vendor, pick your favorite and go. Ours are the Straight Eight Rolls from the Bread Gallery

Vegetables (corn on the cob): This changes every year. For this one I’m thinking corn on the cob, barbeque-d, reminds me the most of the original Thanksgiving meal.

Gravy, Cranberry, Stuffing: Unfortunately, I haven’t found a local or organic source for these items. I think it’s because they are complicated to make and they never sell cranberries at the farmers market. Have to save that for next year.

Pumpkin/Apple Pie: Yumm. Every market has these.

Whipped Cream: Milk by the glass. Every Whole Foods in the nation sells this now and so do most natural food stores. I like Straus Family Creamery from Mother’s Market.

Seafood

Knowing my Mid-Atlantic roots, I hope to one-day introduce some seafood into our Thanksgiving meal. The closer to the pilgrims and natives the better!

From Wikipedia:

“According to what traditionally is known as “The First Thanksgiving,” the 1621 feast between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag at Plymouth Colony contained turkey, waterfowl, venison, fish, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash.”

P.S. – My 2010 post on Thanksgiving

Artificial insemination and too-fat-to-fly – the real Thanksgiving turkey

Something scary is happening in the turkey world. Our scientists and farmers have created a Frankenstein-like beast called the broad breasted white. This creature is created in a lab, through artificial insemination, and then grows fat so fast that it often cannot walk. It usually needs antibiotics to survive to be butchered.

Needless to say, it cannot fly. It can also barely walk, but it does create the biggest turkey breast you could ever imagine.

If that wasn’t enough these creatures are shoved into tight pens with thousands of other birds. All of them too fat to walk around, struggling to survive, and sometimes even injected with butter and salt.

“These birds are grown in large grow-out barns that are fully automated and may house as many as 10,000 birds.” (Wikipedia)

Why is this happening?

Profit, pure and simple. Americans want $5 turkeys and don’t care how they get it. When there is a will there is a way, and this way has been found.

The only thing I can think to say…is it worth it?

Photo credit: INSADCO Photography/Alamy

What is a Heritage Turkey?

The modern turkey (the Broad-Breasted White) has been selected generation after generation for two main traits: white meat and fast growth. The oversized breasts of the Broad-Breasted White render it incapable of flight or natural mating. As it matures, it has difficulty walking. The heritage turkey, on the other hand, is closely related to its wild ancestors; it is heartier, healthier, and capable of natural mating, running, and flying. This enables farms raising heritage turkeys to raise them without drugs. It also makes them more work to raise.

Heritage Turkeys: Worth the Cost?

 

Turkeys must meet all of the following criteria to qualify as a Heritage turkey:

1. Naturally mating: the Heritage Turkey must be reproduced and genetically maintained through natural mating, with expected fertility rates of 70-80%. This means that turkeys marketed as “heritage” must be the result of naturally mating pairs of both grandparent and parent stock.

2. Long productive outdoor lifespan: the Heritage Turkey must have a long productive lifespan. Breeding hens are commonly productive for 5-7 years and breeding toms for 3-5 years. The Heritage Turkey must also have a genetic ability to withstand the environmental rigors of outdoor production systems.

3. Slow growth rate: the Heritage Turkey must have a slow to moderate rate of growth. Today’s heritage turkeys reach a marketable weight in about 28 weeks, giving the birds time to develop a strong skeletal structure and healthy organs prior to building muscle mass. This growth rate is identical to that of the commercial varieties of the first half of the 20th century.

Definition of a Heritage Turkey

 

Heritage Turkeys are the ancestors of the common Broad-breasted White industrial breed of turkey that comprises 99.99% of the supermarket turkeys sold today. But the Heritage Breeds still exist and are making a comeback.

Heritage Turkey Foundation

 

More than ten different turkey breeds are classified as heritage turkeys, including the Auburn, Buff, Black,Bourbon Red, Narragansett, Royal Palm, Slate,Standard Bronze, and Midget White.

Despite increasing interest in heritage turkeys, they are still a tiny minority, perhaps 25,000 raised annually compared to more than 200,000,000 industrial turkeys, and most heritage breeds are endangered in some respect.

Wikipedia – Heritage Turkey

photo by ExperienceLA

The Neo-Ottoman Empire and the Solution to Iraq

I’m writing this article from 30,000 feet up and don’t have the ability to dig deeper, but an article has grabbed my attention with it’s vision. It’s about the influence of Turkey in Iraq and how they are the new European powerhouse. When most are focusing on Al-Qaeda, Iran, and the U.S. Military, it seems that the Ottoman Empire is in resurgence.

In terms of economics, Turkey is ideally position to serve up the vast Iraqi oil reserves to the enormous European markets. In the past Turkey was able to exploit their location on the tri-border of Asia, Europe, and the Middle East to such great extents that they formed empires lasting hundreds of years, the last of which was the Ottoman Empire which only crumbled decades ago. If things go well we may be seeing a resurgence of this power and the first sign may be that in 2010 Turkey “carries roughly 25 percent of Iraq’s oil exports…(and) have signed on to the ambitious $11 billion Nabucco gas pipeline project, which may bypass Russia and bring Iraqi gas to Europe.”

Talk about a shift in the balance of power. Out of nowhere Russia can be cut down to size with Iraq’s vast oil reserves. Turkey can once again become the dominant middle-man enjoying vast profits and greatly improving their chances to become more tightly integrated with the European Union, maybe even join.

In reading the article, pulled from the front page of the New York Times, one gets the sense that Turkey understands this all to well and deeper than any westerner can. The key to ‘fixing’ Iraq will not be through battling Iran or building up the military, but through pure economic growth. To start you need to feed the oil beast and ground zero is the vast oil reserves of Basra. The city once dominated by the Ottomans is now in ruins after bloody civil wars and military takeovers. Now it is a Turkish stronghold where all the interviews in the article ring of the Turkish merchants of yore. Brimming with excitement and ideas so irresistible you just have to love it.

For example, the first building project was a marketplace and one of the first fairs they held there was a petroleum conference.

That’s in the south of Iraq – if you move to the north where the border between Turkey and Iraq exists, you find a completely different scene. This region controlled by the Kurds is booming with commercialism. Turkish billboards, TV shows, pop stars, entrepreneurs, and vast exports of all kinds of goods. It’s a whole different kind of hearts and minds campaign resulting in $6 billion of trade in 2010, “almost double what is was in 2008.” It’s a more mature market and one more dominated by the Turks than ever.

To get a true sense of how this is changing Iraq, one would need to be there, feel the vibe of the streets, and talk to ordinary people. A close second would be to look at the political scene. The recent government coalition is thought to be of Turkish influence and one of the few powers pushing for secular coalitions. Their backing of “Ayad Allawi, a secular Shiite politician who enjoys the support of the country’s Sunnis” shows just that.

In Baghdad too their presence is felt touching all corners and including the famous Moqtada al-Sadr. This famous anti-American populist prince of the poor craves attention and Turkey responded by inviting all of his lawmakers “to the Turkish capital, Ankara, for training in parliamentary protocol.” Can you imagine a revolutionary anti-American leader sending his people to democracy classes?

If all this wasn’t enough, the Kurds of Turkey and Iraq are settling down into their new economic vitality. As they enjoy the border trade that encompasses their land, the racist blood war with the Turkish government is morphing into a “Kurdish opening.” The powerful warlords of Iraqi Kurdistan no longer talk about seceding from Iraq and the prolonged warfare that would ensue. Funny how prosperity seems to calm things down.

The people of Turkey are everywhere in Iraq from the oil rich south to the strong economy in the north. They are deep into politics and are working the population too. With any luck we will have a neo-Ottoman Empire in the near future, one that could unite the Middle East through economic growth and reform through wealth.

Indeed, coalitions of this kind are the only ones that have ever succeeded in the Middle East.