A truly tasty free range Christmas Turkey…

With bonfire night over, we’ve already seen the shelves heaving with advent calendars, and we might have shed a tear at the John Lewis advert too. The countdown to Christmas is upon us, and it’s time to talk Turkey.

At field&flower we’re proud to be great friends with our free-range poultry farmer Stu, and we regularly visit the farm in the lead up to Christmas so we can share the journey of our Christmas turkeys with you.

Stu Perkins - Poultry Farmer

Stu Perkins – Poultry Farmer

Christmas is on Stu’s mind from February. This is when he puts in his bronze turkey order at the hatchery. His focus is on quality not quantity, thus Stu keeps his orders restricted to a small number so there is less stress on the birds. Stu chooses to farm this particular breed as they are naturally slow growing, and ultimately produce a better flavour. He rears his turkeys to full maturity, leading an active life for over 28 weeks, double the lifespan of supermarket birds.

In order to guarantee a truly free range turkey, Stu allows them to roam in endless space for their entire lives. They’re fed on a diet of homegrown cereals to ensure they thrive and grow to a healthy weight.

When the time comes to process the turkeys in early December, they are walked by Stu to the abbatoir on his farm. This creates zero food miles and prevents further stress for the birds. The turkeys are hung for two weeks which created optimum flavour and tenderness.  Then, before you know it, we carefully pack the turkeys and deliver them straight to your door ready for your Christmas dinner.

turkeyrime

You can tell, we think Stu is great. We asked Stu why he believes that a field&flower turkey is the right choice this Christmas

‘I think that when you buy a field&flower turkey, and what’s great about all the stuff they do, is that they know the farm, they know where their meat is coming from. James and James come here, they know the farm and have seen the birds that they are purchasing. True provenance and traceability. You’re not only getting a high welfare product sourced straight from the farm, you’re also getting a bird that it’s been processed in such a way that it’s at its optimum eating quality’

For these reasons we pay Stu 40 percent more than he would if he sold his flock to mass producing retailers. This then allows him to invest more in his farm and continue to specialise in breeding high-welfare birds. We feel so proud that we are able to not only offer a product of the highest quality but can also share a story behind your Christmas turkey too.

A field&flower free range Christmas Turkey

A field&flower free range Christmas Turkey

Don’t forget you can order your Christmas turkey with us now! We’re doing crowns, breasts and whole turkeys. Whether you’re feeding a few, or a big family we’ve got Christmas dinner sorted.  We deliver on Christmas eve too!

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Q&A with our turkey farmer Stuart

Stuart & James

Our free range Bronze turkeys, fully outdoor bred and reared, are from our poultry farmer Stuart Perkins on the picturesque Castlemead Farm in Radstock, Somerset. Stuart has been raising poultry since he was given twelve chickens as an unusual gift on his sixth birthday, and including a stint at agricultural college (where he met James and James), he has been building his brood ever since. We’re delighted that Stuart is raising our Christmas turkeys this year, as any of you who have tried our field&flower chicken will know the incredible quality of his Castlemead Farm birds.

Hi Stuart, how long have you been farming turkeys?

My father first started to produce turkeys when I was young. I can remember standing on a stall collecting the giblets and putting them back inside the bird, not everyone’s childhood memory! When I was around 14 I had my first flock of Christmas turkeys, just 16 of them which I hatched out in the incubator, and it’s all grown from there.

What breed of turkey do you farm?

All of our turkeys come from Kelly turkeys. We keep both white and bronze. We once had a customer to look around the farm who had to ask which ones were white and which were bronze…it’s fairly obvious! We find the bronze and white turkeys don’t like each other. After 8 weeks they have to be reared separately otherwise they will attack each other!

Have you ever had any turkeys rustled?

Not personally, although I have heard it happen. We have to be very careful around Christmas to ensure they’re secure. This often means someone sleeping on the farm to guard them.

Do they require any special treatment?

Turkeys are extremely fussy birds. They need a very warm and sterile environment as chicks but after 6/8 weeks they then need a very cool and airy environment, the complete opposite to what they need in the first few weeks.

How old are your turkeys when they are killed?

We keep our turkeys until 5 months of age (20 weeks). They are then mature birds.

What’s the best thing about your turkeys?

Has to be the taste! The birds are dry plucked and hung which gives them a fantastic succulent flavour.

Any turkey cooking tips?

I’ll have to consult my mum on that one…I would say experience is important, although the most important thing is not to over cook the bird as this will begin to dry it out.

Does your family eat one of your turkeys for Christmas?

Naturally, they get it free!
Because we let them do their own thing, our turkeys, like people, come in all shapes and sizes. We’re offering the following options:

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