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In 1957, 17-year-old Tom Copas was given some turkeys by his father and told to “get on with it”; he sold 157 birds that year. Today his daughters carry on the business. The Copas family dry-pluck the carcass and hang it intact (with the head on) for two weeks for a better flavour. They also offer condiments and stuffings, as well as a handy plug-in widget that you insert before cooking to tell you when the bird’s done.
Kings Coppice Farm, Grubwood Lane, Cookham, Berkshire SL6 9UB; 01628 499980; www.copasturkeys.co.uk
Kelly Bronze Turkeys
Stunning, tasty birds that – due to their maturity and fat marbling – take a lot less time to cook than an average turkey. Every Kelly Bronze includes a meat thermometer as well as cooking instructions. If a whole bird is too much for you, they also offer a stuffed breast, turkey crown or half a bird. Available via mail order or at a range of farm shops and butchers; check website for details.
Springate Farm, Bicknacre Road, Danbury, Essex CM3 4EP; 01245 223581; www.kellyturkeys.co.uk
Goodman’s Geese and Turkeys
What started as a winter hobby in 1982 for the asparagus-growing Goodman family has turned into a business producing 4,000 bronze turkeys each year. The birds are fed on natural foods containing no additives or growth promoters. Both turkeys and geese are available via mail order as well as selected suppliers.
Walsgrove Farm, Great Witley, Worcestershire WR6 6JJ; 01299 896272; www.goodmansgeese.co.uk
Proper old-fashioned birds, these bronze turkeys are reared on the Belvoir Estate, slaughtered on site and dry-plucked. They’re then hung for 14 days for depth of flavour. The turkeys have a decent fat cover, which renders during cooking to make for a really succulent roast. They also offer large cockerels if you’d rather have chicken than turkey. Available from the farm or via The Ginger Pig (www.thegingerpig.co.uk).
Lings View Farm, 10 Middle Street, Grantham, Lincolnshire NG32 1QP; 01476 870394; www.freerangebirds.co.uk
Hostingley Farm Free-Range Turkeys
Tim and Lynne Lindley feed their free-range birds on homegrown grain. The birds are processed directly on the farm, eliminating the stresses of live transport. They are dry-plucked by hand, then hung for at least 10 days. Collect from the farm or via selected stockists.
Hostingley Farm, Thornhill, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. WF12 0QJ; 01924 272 570; www.hostingleyfarmfreerange.co.uk
Andrew Webb is the author of ‘Food Britannia’ (Random House)