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Founded by Master Butchers - Owned by Master Butchers - Run by Master Butchers

Chapter Three

A Christmas Carol

What ensures your Christmas Turkey is going to be fabulous​​​​​​​

Preparations for Slaughter and Game Hanging

Even the most stringent adherence to best practice in rearing the best Poults with the correct diets, healthy outdoor environments can be undone without following a meticulous, humane, skilful and caring approach to this part of the process.

Best practice is to only select those birds that are fully mature-as opposed to just taking the whole flock.

On our Turkey Farms they are the walked to the Lairage (at their own pace) just 600m from where they have lived all of their natural lives.

At the Lairage, in dim light, they are individually picked up to avoid any unnecessary stress by expertly trained and licensed operators.

There are only a few of those highly skilled craftsmen left-so not many birds have this level of care.

Within 5 seconds of being hand picked up the bird is shackled, immediately stunned dead and then with the arteries cut - let to bleed out for about two minutes.

The skill here is to get the blood out quickly and then perfectly Game Hang the bird.

Flight feathers are removed by machine which never touches the skin.

The bird is then dry plucked by hand by highly experienced staff that are careful not to damage the skin.

Hand Finishing the bird to Perfection

The birds are then Game Hung i.e. with the innards still intact in a temperature controlled environment of 4° for between one and two weeks.

This hanging is what finally finishes the bird to perfection as the natural acids combine with the muscles and start to relax them so the flesh starts to change. This imparts that special texture and taste that only Turkeys reared in this meticulous and caring manner can possess.

Only by using such preparation can you produce traditional Turkeys which are at the pinnacle of excellence.

Game hanging can only be done successfully if there is no damage to the body or skin.

Any incision into the carcass lets in air which in turn lets in bacteria, yeast and moulds which can all contribute to spoiling the meat.

Watching the changes in every Turkey

Unlike the large Commercial producers, an Artisan farmer can see the changes to the bird to judge when the bird is fully maturated.

The Birds skin is translucent to start with. Then the fat starts to block the translucence-and eventually the skin changes to a cream colour signifying it is ready for the oven. Imagine Commercial producers taking that time and care.

The effort is costly but as an enhancement to the eating experience - it is truly priceless.

In comparison many Commercial producers will probably have Farms many miles from a slaughterhouse or abattoir.

Birds will be taken out of growing sheds by untrained gangs probably chasing and catching them.

They would then be put into cages and transported the many miles to the slaughterhouse.

Once in the Slaughterhouse they are taken from the cages and put on to the shackles, stunned and bled mechanically.

They are then immersed in hot water (at about 55º C) to loosen the feathers from the skin, remaining on the production line-and then mechanically plucked.

The hot water tends to encourage more meat spoilage. Imagine a factory production line with feathers being ripped out by machine, flying everywhere -and you can see why proper Game Hanging doesn't really become a possibility.

Once mechanically plucked the birds are then mechanically eviscerated, gas flushed to preserve them, which is done by putting them in a modified atmosphere-and then into the food chain.

Artisan Farmers vs Commercial Producers

So hopefully we have given you an insight into just what the differences are between a Godfreys truly Free Range Premium Quality Turkey and a commercially produced Turkey.

We have seen how some mass produced Turkeys pass themselves of as Premium Quality birds by masquerading under such names as Bronze or using tricks of the trade like diet and breed selection or evocative brand descriptions and names just to arrive and justify an attractive price.

Our Farms put in an incredible amount of time, effort, expense, expertise and sheer care into beautifully hand rearing our Turkeys to offer you the tasting experience we know our customers rely upon us to provide each and every year.

Godfreys Premium Quality Turkeys possess impeccable pedigrees and provenance, and are reared to the highest standards of animal welfare and care and finished only in a way true Artisan farmers know how to.

We passionately believe (and have done for five generations of our family) that only Premium Quality breeds, reared immaculately, can produce that jaw dropping, fabulous tasting Christmas centrepiece, which for many families is the most important meal of the year

Even Scrooge would understand that!

Merry Christmas!

The End

(Apologies to Charles Dickens)

Hope you enjoyed the read.


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