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Talking turkey with 4-H kids

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Youths show their animals at the Jeffco Fair

By Ramsey Scott

The price of a frozen turkey at the neighborhood grocery store doesn't add up for 15-year-old Evan Lim of Littleton.

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It costs Lim, a 4-H participant, about $70 for each of the turkeys he’s raised from chicks and then processed — a giant jump from the supermarket price.

“It makes you wonder what they’re feeding them,” Lim said. “It’s really important for my family to know where our food comes from.”

Lim was among the many 4-H youths who showed their turkeys, rabbits, goats, steers, llamas and hogs at this year’s Jefferson County Fair. Lim joined 4-H three years ago as a ploy to get his parents to let him keep more chickens at their home. 

Since joining, Lim said, he’s learned everything from veterinary science (a possible career path) to the proper way to handle firearms. He’s even started his own business, Egglicious, in which he sells bulk feed to urban farmers along with the eggs his birds produce. 

“Chickens are awesome. They eat the bugs in your yard and give you breakfast in the morning,” Lim said. 

Lim said his family wants to know the sources of their food, which also was true for many of the families strolling through the animal exhibits at the Jeffco Fairgrounds on Aug. 9. 

“I really wanted my kids to know where their food comes from,” said Dolly Pfenneberger-Leone. “I grew up in Conifer taking care of animals and climbing trees. I want my kids to have the same experience.”

Pfenneberger-Leone said it's important for her children to not only learn the responsibility it takes to raise rabbits and other animals, but that those animals are also a source of food.

“Rabbits aren’t just for enjoyment. They’re sources of fiber and a meal,” Pfenneberger-Leone said. “It’s also important for children to learn empathy. Kids who raise animals show more empathy than kids who don’t. ”

Pfenneberger-Leone’s daughter Jena Leone, 13, said the six years she’s been involved with 4-H have been an enriching experience. Raising and breeding rabbits and chickens have taught her everything from how to process an animal to how genetic traits are passed down from parents to an offspring.  

“It teaches you responsibility, and that rabbits are living things and you can’t neglect them,” Jena Leone said. “I was a little hesitant at first to process one. But after we started butchering it, I realize it’s just like any other meat that we eat.”

Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22, and follow him on Twitter @RamseyColumbine. Check www.columbinecourier.com for updates. 

For more information …

Want to check out Evan Lim’s business Egglicious? Visit the teen’s website at egglicious.webs.com/