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How To Choose The Best Turkey

7th November 2019

Not sure which turkey to get? Once you’ve made the decision to ditch cheap commercially-reared birds, which never see the light of day and are grown in ultra-quick time, it can be tricky to know which higher-welfare bird to choose. After all, the quality of outdoor life can vary even among free-range birds and it totally depends on the methods used by each farm. To clear things up, here’s a quick guide to our farmers’ birds so you can choose the best turkey for you and your family, whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas or for your Sunday roast.

Fosse Meadows Farm, Leicestershire

Free range turkey crowns and whole turkeys

How to choose the best turkey this Christmas

Nick and Jacob at Fosse Meadows farm, where ‘happy birds taste better’

Nick and Jacob rear traditional free range Bronze turkeys at Fosse Meadows Farm. They eat a natural diet of oats and foraged grass and are grown slowly over six months. Raised to the highest welfare standards, these turkeys live life on the wild side scratching around the farm’s hedgerows. Bronze turkeys are a little gamey and have an essence of wild turkey about them. Fosse’s turkeys are wax plucked and game-hung for up to 14 days for a superior flavour and texture. Nick says: “We are transparent. Our turkeys are reared on the farm and slaughtered on the farm. We slaughter in a traditional process which none of the supermarkets will be able to do.” Catch their turkeys living a truly free-range life in this video.

Get your Fosse Meadows turkey from Farmdrop.

Goodman’s, Worcestershire

Free range turkey crowns and whole turkeys

goodmans turkey

Mike Goodman on his family farm

“We are very proud that all our turkeys are slaughtered and prepared on the farm”, says Mike Goodman from Goodman’s family farm in Worcestershire. The farm extends to 500 acres, of which 100 acres of grassland is used for their turkeys, geese and cattle, who graze free-range over the pasture land. The turkeys arrive at the farm as day-old poults in late June and are reared inside until they are six weeks old. They are then let outside into grass fields during the day and put to bed in their barn every night. The turkeys are fed a specially prepared natural ration so that they grow slowly to develop in flavour. Once slaughtered, they are dry-plucked and game-hung for up to 10 days to allow the meat to intensify in flavour.

What does dry-plucked mean? This is a traditional method of plucking the bird’s feathers by hand. Dry-plucking allows the skin to remain dry, meaning it will crisp up better during cooking. Supermarket birds, on the other hand, are often wet-plucked using large machines so they can process in bulk and to cut costs. A bird that is dry-plucked has a considerably longer shelf life than one that is wet-plucked.

Get your Goodmans turkey from Farmdrop.

Frenchbeer Farm, Dartmoor

Organic free-range whole turkey

How to choose the best turkey this Christmas

Mike Malseed with his family’s free-ranging organic Bronze turkeys.

The Malseed family rear their slow growing Bronze turkeys at Frenchbeer Farm in Dartmoor National Park. The day-old birds (poults) are hatched early in the summer. From start to finish are fed a simple traditional cereal based and certified organic diet. When big enough, the turkeys are given access to the surrounding fields and meadows. Here they forage on grasses, herbs and seasonal berries. After six months the birds have reached maturity and carry a layer of fat which ensures the meat to be tender and succulent when cooked. Crucially, this layer of fat is found only in the traditional rearing of the Bronze breed. The birds are then dry plucked by hand and game hung for 10 days to further enhance flavour and texture.

Get your Frenchbeer turkey from Farmdrop.

High-welfare farm-fresh turkeys have a superior flavour and slightly denser texture. Our farmers’ truly free-ranging turkeys are grown for at least twice as long as the average supermarket turkey, are never plastic wrapped and come in a handy cardboard box. All of our farmers’ turkeys are free-range, exercise outside and encounter no routine antibiotics. Wave goodbye to dry, flavourless mass-produced commercial birds.

For Farmdrop’s full range of turkeys and everything you need for an unforgettable Christmas, head to Farmdrop.com.

This post was originally published in November 2017 and has been updated.

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