I’m really excited this year, as I have been able to realise one of my ambitions since our first Christmas in Chilbolton four years ago; to find local Hampshire Free Range Turkeys. The problem has been that the largest turkey farms are in Norfolk and East Anglia and one our aims when we bought Chilbolton Post Office & Stores, four years ago, was to source as much of our fresh produce and meat locally, as possible. There are a few farms in Hampshire that provide free range turkeys, but unfortunately they’ve either been too far away or simply too expensive.
After talking with Mike Smales, who make the wonderful Lyburn Cheese, he recommended a farm on the edge of the New Forest, where he gets his. A few calls later and I’m talking enthusiastically with the owners of Noah’s Ark Farm. They really care about the welfare of their turkeys and raise them from a day old, letting them roam in the fields (when they are old enough) and graze in a natural environment. When the day comes in December, the turkeys are processed on the farm, which reduces the stress on the animals and also food miles.
All of the birds are slow growing Bronze Turkeys which develop over 22-24 weeks, compared to the fast growing birds in supermarkets, which develop in 14-16 weeks. The Bronze has the flavour of the traditional Norfolk Black, but also more meat, so is a great Christmas alternative to the white turkeys. The care continues during the preparation stages, with all the turkeys being hand plucked and hung for a minimum of 10 days, which improves the flavour and tenderises the meat.
This Christmas Chilbolton Stores will providing the option of either a traditional Fresh Turkey from Randall Parker (formerly Bennetts) or a Hampshire Free Range Bronze Turkey. As I will need to drive down to the New Forest to collect these, we will be delivering these only on the 23rd December.
I hope you all enjoy these this Christmas and you can download the Chilbolton Stores Christmas order form here