Honk! Happy Goose Day

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Weirdly specific holidays can make for some great memories and some fun annual traditions, and a great example of this is Goose Day. September 29 is Goose Day in Mifflin and Juniata counties in Pennsylvania. Not all of the Keystone State, mind you – just those two counties.

But where did it come from? Per this helpful and informative article from PennLive, Goose Day is also known as Michaelmas Day, which was created by Pope Felix III in the fifth century to celebrate the Archangel Michael. Much, much later, Michaelmas Day was also a quarterly Tax Day. In the 15th century, tax payments often came in the form of a goose rather than coins. Centuries after that, the English settlers in Pennsylvania brought the tradition with them.

How does one celebrate Goose Day? Eat a goose. They’re an often overlooked poultry option, and they may be difficult to find, but there is a chance a farmer near you may be raising and selling them. There’s also the possibility of adding them to your own farmstead.

Geese, like ducks, are raised for meat purposes. They subsist largely on grass and other tender green food during the growing season – and so they do need a sizable pasture. The birds are very hardy and really only need protection only during very cold or stormy weather. They require very little care throughout the year.

You can raise geese for your own eating purposes or, depending on your location and the people surrounding you, you can raise them to be sold. They are popular with certain immigrant populations.

Geese are easily fattened in late autumn and early winter. To do so, corn should be abundantly fed to them. It can be supplemented with chopped vegetables, grit and water. Geese are killed, picked and shipped in a manner very similar to that used for ducks.

If you don’t want to eat goose on Goose Day, you could always push the celebration back to Thanksgiving. Bon Appétit lists five alternatives to the usual turkey as the centerpiece of the meal, and goose is one of them. Think outside the (bird)box – both for your consumption and your farming desires.

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