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 – We ask James Flower about our new steak range

Flower

Q&A – We ask James Flower about our new steak range

These days our team is pretty busy at the butchery so it’s rare (sorry, we couldn’t help it) that we get to ask our co-founder and beef farmer James Flower, lots of questions.

We were itching to find out a little more about why he’s personally selected all 17 cuts of steak on our site and for him to share his excitement about our new sharing steaks.

So James…

What’s your favourite cut of steak?

It’s a tough call between sirloin steak and rump, but I’d have to say rump. It has great flavour.

What’s your favourite way to cook a steak?

People often ask me how to cook steak. It definitely depends on the cut. For a fillet, it has to be rare. If I’m having rump or sirloin steak, it has to be medium rare. A rib eye steak is best cooked medium so it’s marbled fat can melt and flavour the meat.

Any other cooking tips?

I like to keep it simple. I recommend you lightly oil and season the meat. Then whack on a searing hot pan and cook to your taste. We have a ‘how to cook steak guide’ on our site which is great.

Why should people buy their beef from field&flower as opposed to competitors?

All of our beef is sired by Traditional breeds such as Aberdeen Angus, Hereford and Ruby Red Devon.

These breeds are slower growing and are proven to produce beef with better flavour. We source all of our beef from grass based farms in the South West (the best part of the UK for naturally grazing cattle) including our own farm. Cattle that have had a grass and forage based diet for the majority of their lives are happier and healthier and in turn produce beef that is tastier and better for us.

Combined with great animal husbandry the combination of these factors mean we can produce a product that Supermarkets and other retailers can’t. We traditionally dry age our beef and have a full maturation period of at least 28 days. This increases the depth of flavour and tenderness whilst decreasing the water content allowing for a superb eating experience.

Why have you created an alternative steak box?

We have great butchers and deal with whole cuts of beef from nose to tail – so the alternative steak box is a great way for us to showcase some cuts that you may not have tried before and can’t get from a supermarket. We invest so much time in producing quality beef, we want people to try every steak there is to offer. We’ve got 4 new cuts in there plus great steak recipes, sauces, and how to cook steak guides on the website.

What’s your favourite steak recipe?

If I’m honest I don’t like to mess around with a steak too much – it’s too good to add anything to it. Great steak for me should be griddled and served with chunky chips and a very simple sauce.

What’s this rumour about sharing steaks?prime rib

In addition to the unsung heroes of the steak world, we wanted to offer bigger and better cuts of the good stuff. We’ve now got a Porterhouse steak (or
T bone steak) in our shop. This consists of both the fillet and the sirloin separated by a T bone right down the middle. Two steaks, in one. We also have a bone in prime rib, a sharing rump steak and a sharing sirloin steak too. They feed 2-4 people depending on the cut, or 1 person if they’re feeling really hungry. We’ve created a one off box for them all too.

Cheers James!

Catching up with farmer Stu

Last week James and James caught up with our free-range turkey farmer Stu (all pictured below) down at Castlemead to check in on our Christmas birds. And it’s fair to say they’re doing pretty well!

Turkeys-for-blog

The warm weather so far this year has been really good for both the turkeys and geese, providing plenty of fresh grass to feed on and already, they’re looking nice and plump.

At the moment, (you can see from the picture), they’re loving the outdoors, foraging about as they please, and will stay outside now until it’s Christmas time. Having said that though, we hear the last few days they’ve been dodging the rain somewhat – it’s been very wet!

And whilst you’re here, we’ll let you into a little secret; we’re running an extra special festive offer until the end of next month – if you order your Christmas turkey before the 30th November will pop in your box a FREE cranberry sauce and streaky bacon pack to enjoy on the big day too.

And don’t forget Thanksgiving either, which is held on Thursday 27th November, we’ve got a limited supply of turkeys available for the date so make sure you get your orders in quick to reserve yours. Just click here to buy.

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:

000deliveryoptionsturkeysTake me to the Christmas Shop

Our founder James Mansfield’s Christmas favourites…

James Mansfield's Christmas order

James’s Christmas order:

1 small Turkey

1kg Honey roast ham

1kg topside beef

Sausages in bacon

200g smoked salmon

Hot smoked trout

Somerset brie

Bath blue

 

We usually have a Beef Roast on Christmas Eve. It’s become a bit of a tradition of my Dad’s but since I’ve been running field&flower I haven’t been able to be there, so this will be enjoyed in my absence unfortunately.

We will have the smoked salmon as a bit of a starter before our Christmas meal. My dad does it, he fancies himself as a bit of a Rick Stein in the kitchen!

We normally have six at ours for Christmas lunch, so a small turkey means we get plenty of left-overs. I always think it’s nice to have a smaller turkey and then have a few other meats rather than having to just eat turkey for the next four days.

The cheese is for whoever can manage it after our Christmas lunch, but I prefer this and our honey roast ham on Boxing Day. I’m looking forward to enjoying our new chutney and pickle range from The Bay Tree too…perhaps I’ll just have to eat all day to get through everything.

 

Do you get to enjoy Christmas when you’re rushing around?

Not really, it’s our busiest time of year. We don’t like letting people down so if it means dragging family members in to help out last minute then it has to be done. My sister will testify to that! field&flower have only had two proper Christmas periods before so sometimes the amount of orders can catch us off guard. We were delivering turkeys to family and friends until 10pm last year on Christmas Eve. I enjoy eating our turkey on Christmas day knowing there are 250 people doing the same thing… I get the odd photo from friends tucking in which is nice, we’re hoping to see lots more this year as we’ll be running our first photo competition.

 

What’s your earliest Christmas memory?

Getting my stocking on Christmas morning, and my Dad falling asleep by 3pm.

 

What do you eat on Christmas morning?

My mum is the most traditional person in the world so we always have to have bucks fizz, croissants and jam!

 

What’s your favourite non-meat Christmas food?

Who wouldn’t say chocolate?

 

Who cooks the lunch in your house?

Last year dad and me, as my mum was working on Christmas Day.

 

How many are there in your house on Christmas day?

Normally 6 but every third year up to 20.

 

What time do you normally eat lunch?

Around 3pm but it can vary depending on the Queen’s Speech and the Christmas walk (via the pub).

 

Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?

It used to be seeing friends and wrapping presents but now it’s delivering turkeys and getting to the pub in time for last orders.