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Five ways to find the perfect Christmas turkey

To find out more about the welfare and the flavour of your festive bird, there are five key questions you should ask, says Devon farmer Anna Bury.

Anna explains that there is so much more to a turkey than its price: “Here at Eversfield Organic, we also consider the quality of life that the bird enjoyed, its impact on the environment and its health-giving qualities. This is why all our meat is always organic – we know it is best for the animals, best for the consumers and best for the environment.”

Here are Anna’s five key questions you should ask about your bird this year:

  1. How old is this turkey? An organic, free-range traditional breed of turkey will be around six months old and will have reached full maturity. This means it will have a natural layer of fat and will be much more flavoursome when cooked, compared to a younger, immature bird reared with intensive farming methods.
  2. What has it been eating? A certified organic turkey must be fed with organic feed, grown to strict standards no pesticides, artificial fertilisers or genetically modified ingredients. Organic turkey feed can cost up to 60% more than non-organic but is definitely worth it.
  3. How was it raised? Organic standards mean that an organic turkey is a truly free-range bird, with everyday access to plenty of outdoor space and grazing, kept in smaller flocks. Organic birds will not have been debeaked or kept indoors for their lifespan, like many intensively farmed turkeys.
  4. What breed is it? Slow-growing traditional turkey breeds – such as Norfolk black turkey or Bronze turkey – take longer to mature. This gives them a plump conformation of muscle and a natural finish of fat, making them tastier. Most turkeys consumed this Christmas will be reared and fattened as quickly as possible to keep costs down, not good for the bird or the nutritional content of the meat.
  5. How was it prepared? Our Eversfield Organic turkeys are slaughtered and dry-plucked by hand on the farm, avoiding a stressful journey to an abattoir which is harsh for the birds, whilst stress can also toughen meat. The meat should be hung for at least seven days, which intensifies the flavour and increases tenderness. We then prepare our turkeys to oven-ready standards with the utmost care and attention. For us, both animal welfare and quality are paramount.

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Editor in chief Suzi Dixon studied at Bournemouth university, went away for a while to work at The Daily Telegraph, then moved back to the sunny South coast for a quiet (er) life. Bournemouth News & Info is her website and she is assisted by the fabulous Fred From France in all things geeky and technical. Hire us to make your website, too, if you like.

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