Local birds are best!
This Christmas an estimated 10 billion turkeys will be munched across the UK with three quarters of UK families opting to keep it traditional (Source: YouGov).
Across Hampshire farmers have been rearing turkeys since the summer ready for Christmas. We are fortunate that there are plenty of places across the county to purchase fully traceable turkeys and back Hampshire farmers. Buying your turkey directly from a local farmer or butcher gives you the chance to ask any questions you might have about where and how it has been reared.
At Ashford Farm near Petersfield they have been rearing 1,000 free-range bronze and white turkeys and 130 geese since June ready for Christmas. They arrive as day-old chicks and are slowly reared with access each day to fields. They can be seen perching on fences before retreating to the straw bales in the barn at bedtime. The birds are slaughtered on site at a minimum of 24 weeks which can be double the age of intensively reared birds.
Cobley Wood Farm near Ringwood is rearing Norfolk bronze turkeys which arrived on the farm as day-old poults. They are free range and spend their days foraging in the vegetable garden and paddock which helps develop the quality of their flavour. The birds will be hand-plucked and hung for a week further adding to the taste of the bird. They also produce a tempting range of seasonal sausages; plum and ginger, spicy mulled wine, cranberry and chestnut and port and cranberry.
Many Hampshire butchers and farm shops will also be sourcing their turkeys and Christmas meats from local farmers. And whether you opt for the farm or butcher route there is usually a glass of mulled wine or sherry and a natter involved when you collect your order. A wonderful way to kick off the festive season!
Details of how to order:
Ashford Farm, Petersfield
Order turkey and geese via their website: www.ashfordfarmturkeys.co.uk or by telephone on 01730 268131. It is recommended that you order before 12th December to guarantee your desired weight.
Birds will be available for collection from the farm gate on Thursday 22nd and Wednesday 23rd December from 8am-8pm and on Thursday 24th December from 8am-2pm.
Cobley Wood Farm, Ringwood
Orders can be made via email or phone, firstname.lastname@example.org, 07715 628723 / 07715 665342. Visit their website for more information: www.cobleywoodfarm.co.uk Order as soon as possible. Turkeys will be reading for collection on 22nd, 23rd and 24th December from 12pm-7pm with an invitation to join Mike and Ann for a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie.
Hockey’s Farm Shop in South Gorley is taking orders for turkeys from nearby Great Oaks Farm. Open Monday – Saturday 8am-6pm and Sundays 9am-5pm. www.hockeys-farm.co.uk
Uptons of Bassett in Southampton is also taking orders for turkeys from Paul Tanner at Great Oaks Farm. There will be an opportunity to meet Paul and try some festive meats, stuffing and more at the Uptons of Bassett Christmas Open Evening on Tuesday 2nd December, from 6pm-8pm www.uptonsbutchers.co.uk
Other places to bag a local turkey:
Newlyns Farm Shop - www.newlyns-farmshop.co.uk
Laverstoke Park Farm - www.laverstokepark.co.uk
Stansted Park Farm Shop - www.stanstedfarmshop.com
(selling turkeys from just over the border at Walters Farm in Reading)
You can also use the turkey finder on the NFU website to track down your nearest farm:
Turkey finder - www.nfuonline.com/back-british-farming/uk-turkeys/turkey-finder
Images of Ashford Farm taken by Kim Taylor.