With 8 weeks to go until Christmas you might be wondering what goes into producing the centrepiece of your feast.
Well we are well truly on the final countdown to Christmas……
The turkeys and geese are looking an absolute picture and are now just putting on the wonderful fat coverage that gives them that juicy succulent flavour. We have moved to feeding them whole oats which we buy from a local farm, this gives the fat a fantastic flavour.
In recent weeks they have been stars of the airways with an interview on BBC Radio Cornwall, the screen with a segment on BBC Spotlight and on film with the NFU in readiness for the Cornwall NFU Conference where Will and I have been asked to speak.
It is beyond scary to think that in one months time we will be in full swing processing our beautiful birds.
It’s not a part that anyone like to think of but we process our birds individually onsite which ensures zero stress to the birds. Our birds are ‘dry plucked’ firstly a machine pulls the strong flight feather (wings and tail) then they are carefully plucked using a dry plucking machine. This takes great skill, care and strength (some of the males are extremely heavy!) to ensure there is no damage to the birds.
While the machine takes off a lot of the feather each bird has to be finished by hand. This is where our team of pluckers come in. Turkey plucking is an age old skill and everyone develops their own technique. There is really something about the feeling of team work as everyone gets stuck in.
Once all the turkeys and geese have been plucked they will ‘hang’ in the fridge until the 15th December when we start to oven ready the birds or if you want to be technical ‘eviscerate’ them. The hanging time allows the meat to mature which enhances its flavour and gives the meat it’s firmer texture.
Evisceration involves a huge amount of labour and each team member is assigned one task, i.e gutting, packing the giblets or taking off feet. The gutted birds then pass to the ‘boxing’ team where each birds is carefully weighed, wrapped in greaseproof paper, assigned a number, boxed and then packed with the giblets, herbs, pop up timer and recipe leaflet. Boxed birds are then sorted into the appropriate fridge or placed on the correct pallet to head to one of our stockists.
Once we have finished that we then start more of the butchery side which involves cutting the crowns and rolled breast joints. Which in turn means vac packing endless turkey legs and wings. Last year we packed just over 600 individual turkey legs….this year I dare say it will be more!!
After that our bodies of beef and pork butcher’s packs arrive back from the butchers. This year we will have 4 (one more than last year) each individual piece has to weighed and labelled then packed into orders. The beef mince alone will amount to 450 packs!
The fridges will then be absolutely bursting at the seams as we are ready to start the grand order dispatch with our stockists birds leaving us on the 19th December.
This year our nationwide deliveries will be dispatched on the 20th December, this is such a hectic day as you are racing against the lorry arriving. Orders are packed in wool lined boxes with icepacks which will hold cold for 72hrs, labelled up for their destinations then stacked on pallets. The pallets are wrapped in cling film for safety and loaded onto the lorry to make their way to every corner of the UK!!
After that we turn our attention to preparing our turkey collection room and we will finish cutting the last crowns and breast joints before our wonderful customers arrive to collect from the farm at 8am on the 23rd December. Every year Will and I promise that we will be done ready for a good nights sleep on the 22nd. However the reality is we work right through the night – I am well know for a 3am complete meltdown! Once that is done I revive and we push on for morning!! I am pretty sure that 2023 will be no different…..
We close the collection doors at 2pm on the 24th December and frankly collapse in a heap before having to galvanise for Christmas with our mini farmers.
We couldn’t do it without our wonderful team of seasonal workers that come and work their absolute socks off through December.
(We are looking for seasonal staff if anyone fancies it!!)