Farming Matters: Turkey worth gobbling up

Heather Jan Brunt - Farming Matters
Heather Jan Brunt - Farming Matters

With the dark nights closing in, fires crackling in the grate, and many people’s thoughts turning towards the festive season, the Christmas countdown has begun in earnest for the Traditional Farmfresh Turkey Association.

This is a group of 50 independent farmers across the country who produce in excess of 165,000 free-range and barn reared turkeys specifically for the festive season.

A turkey

A turkey

The association was formed in 1984 for like-minded farmers who won’t settle for second best when it comes to Christmas turkeys.

And two of the members come from Buckinghamshire.

One of them is Richard Pearce who farms in Butlers Cross near Wendover.

Mr Pearce has bred turkeys for 40 years and this year he is rearing up to 700 Bronze free-range birds for the Christmas market. They are fed an English cereal diet and guaranteed drug-free.

Mr Pearce said: “People can order the turkey by phone or email and they will receive confirmation with a map of how to get to us.

“We can keep the bird for them up until Chrsitmas Eve if they wish, and there is no supermarket scramble to contend with. They can meet the farmer and his family and ask as many questions as they wish.

“They are not the cheapest, we can’t compete with people producing millions. But they do have an appeal to certain people who really care. And I hope the taste is good, we feel it is. And because the bird is mature it cooks well and doesn’t need any basting.”

Order online at www.farmgatetoplate.co.uk, or email turkeys@stokefarm.demon.co.uk or call 01296 612448.