Meet Our Free Range Turkey Farmerby Robert Gooch October 17 2023
When it comes to turkey, it has to be free-range and high-welfare. Our near neighbour, Oli Parker, supplies all our free range turkeys and gives them a very happy and healthy life. We caught up with Oli to find out more about his turkey farm and what makes his birds so tasty.
What got you started?
I was always interested in birds, starting with a few laying chickens and selling the eggs. Then one day I had the idea of having some turkeys for Christmas. I bought 29 turkeys with money I’d saved up from selling eggs in 2016 and never looked back from there.
Where is your farm?
Laurel farm, Wenhaston. Is situated on the Suffolk coast around 15 miles from The Wild Meat Company.
How are your turkeys reared?The turkeys come to us as delicate little chicks at a day old which we brood in a warm environment to replicate the mother hen. As the birds grow they can range outside in the pastures around the farm. However due to the resurgence of bird flu we often have to keep the birds housed to protect their health.
We hand feed our birds daily so we build a good connection up with them over there lifetime. This decreases stress and makes the birds happier.
What makes your turkeys so tasty?
The turkeys are fed a largely home-grown cereal based diet which is made to suit the turkeys dietary needs. Our birds are Kept longer than most and given a better life which shows in their flavour. They are dry plucked and hung in temperature-controlled conditions to mature which gives them a superior flavour and tenderness compared to a supermarket bird.
What do you enjoy about raising turkeys?
My favourite part of rearing turkeys is talking (‘gobbling’ in turkey language) to the stags (male turkeys) and listening to them gobble back. They are very intelligent birds and are incredibly inquisitive.
Why do you think people should choose turkey?
For me, Christmas isn’t the same without a turkey. It starts on Christmas Day with a roast and just keeps giving with tonnes of the meals to be made from the leftover turkey. It’s also nice for all the family to be together for a few days over the Christmas holidays.