Animal welfare, ensuring everything possible is done to lead a stress free life, and respecting animals as sentient beings is a core principle of biodynamic farming. Turkeys are game birds, their natural habitat is woodland and pasture. To produce the best eating turkeys, the conditions they spend their lives in ,the breed, their feed, how they long they live , and after care – how they are plucked and matured are equally important . Living a short, crammed life inside (often as little as 12 weeks), fed GM food, stress -full slaughter, dipped in hot water to remove their feathers, and minimum aging is not a life any turkey would chose, or a turkey anyone would wish to eat.
Choosing a better turkey is a top priority for caring consumers, interested in animal welfare , the all important farm -to -fork provenance and eating quality.
Jo Bradley, Hungary Lane Farm in Leicestershire, is the only UK’s producer of biodynamic turkeys.
This is their story:
1. The turkeys arrive in July as one day chicks from poultry breeder, Kelly’s, renowned for their Bronze turkey breed, which has been bred especially for flavour and outdoor living . Different strains have been bred to mature at different weights, ensuring that customers can enjoy a small or a large turkey
2. The tiny chicks need cosseting and lots of tlc : “They need warmth , about 40c simulating being brooded under their mother. After about 4 weeks they have enough feathers to keep warm and they can start to go outside but heat is still provided in the house in case they should get cold or wet.” They spend the rest of the summer and autumn in the sunshine and light roaming freely grazing on a clover and herb rich biodynamic pasture .”We do have to have an electric fence around them to keep the fox out and stop them disappearing into the next village.”
3. 85 % of their feed is home grown: they feast on biodynamic wheat, barley, oats and beans, supplemented with 15% bought in feed . Turkeys are good grazers, and relish Jo’s nutritious pastures, plus tit bits from the vegetable patch – such as courgettes in summer and cabbages in autumn .
3. After enjoying a blissful summer and autumn, the turkeys end their lives on the farm, and are killed one at a time, swiftly and humanely with minimum stress possible.
4. The turkeys are then dry plucked by hand the traditional way , and matured in the farm’s cold store for 10 days to develop their rich flavour, before being prepared for their customers, wrapped in greaseproof paper and dispatched.
How to buy Bradley’s biodynamic turkeys :
The turkeys weigh 3.5-8kg and can be bought from the farm direct or by mail order. They cost £18. 50kg , delivered to your door on December 22nd
To order ring: 01509 673897