The livestock at Miles Smith Farm love leftovers like this pumpkin. (Courtesy photo)
By CAROLE SOULE
Not sure what to do with all those Thanksgiving pumpkin decorations? No need to cook them or peel them – just donate them to your favorite cows or pigs! Are they soft and squishy? All the more tasty for your four-legged friends.
Not sure what to do with all those Thanksgiving pumpkin decorations? No need to cook them or peel them just donate them to your favorite cows or pigs. Are they soft and squishy? All the more tasty for your four-legged friends.
What is one man's waste can be dinner for a pig or a cow. Our barn is filled with a mountain of pumpkins and squash donated by Cole Garden. Frozen, then thawed pumpkins are soft and perfect for cattle to eat. The hard pumpkins need to be split so we have a smash fest to crack them open before we feed them. A friend of the farm whose apple trees exploded with fruit this year brought us boxes of apples which the pigs and cattle devoured. We also get kitchen scraps from Grappone Conference Center, which include the occasional bucket of eggs for the pigs. The cattle love the pineapple and melon rinds and besides the eggs, the pigs get bread and apple pie. Each week, Crust and Crumb gives us two or three bags of bread and pastry scraps, which the pigs also devour. Not only are these scraps staying out of landfill, they are feeding hungry livestock. The cycle is complete when we sell pork to Grappone Conference Center.
When we drive up to the feed bunker with a load of scraps, the chickens and ducks flock over to see what we've got. They love the lettuce scraps, and what the cows don't eat the birds finish off. Bree, the dog, gets into the act, too, so we have to make sure the scraps are out of her reach.
We won't feed the livestock meat, and what we do feed them has to be edible for humans, so no garbage is allowed. The food scraps are refrigerated until fed out, and sometimes I've been known to sample the food, not because I love chocolate cake with thick frosting or lemon pie with cream topping but because I need to make sure the food is safe for the critters. While we feed out kitchen scraps, we'll never give scraps off plates that have already been served. There are some diseases that transfer from humans to pigs, so we don't want to risk the health of our livestock. Besides, would you eat food off a stranger's plate?
Remember the adage, "Waste not, want not?" Well, if you have pumpkins or whole squash hanging around, don't think of it as trash, think of it as a meal for a farm friend. If you don't have a farm friend, make friends with our cows and pigs, they'll love you for it. Imagine the joy you'll share as they chomp on that squash you were going to throw out. Besides, smashing pumpkins is deeply satisfying when it's done for a good cause.