Christmas turkeys at Bramble Farm
- Credit: Archant
A third generation farming family based in West Horsley, the Joy family produce the most delicious free range turkeys at Bramble Farm
A finalist in this year's Food Product of the Year category at the Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards, Bramble Farm is run by the Joy family, who have been poultry farming in Surrey since 1929. They may be a rural business steeped in tradition but that hasn't stopped Bramble Farm moving with the times, and this year it's even easier to order your turkey direct from the farm online - whether it's for Thanksgiving, Christmas or just some delicious weekend dining.
"It's a hugely exciting moment for us, as for the very first time people can pop onto our website to order direct, as well as from the farm gate, local butchers and farm shops," says Adrian Joy, the third generation of the family to run the business. "We're lucky that we have customers who have been visiting us for their turkey for more than 55 years. We even have people come all the way up from the coast or down from London to collect their bird."
While TV chefs and magazines often seem to champion quirky alternatives to turkey these days, this humble bird remains the star for a lot of British people's festive celebrations. Tradition, coupled with a revival in people's search for food with local provenance, means that Adrian and his team are kept busy throughout the year.
"There's such a great foodie culture that has developed in Britain in recent years and that can only help farmers like us, who put high quality, great tasting food and the welfare of the animals high on the agenda," says Adrian.
"Our country took a long time to change from the necessity of a pre and post-war 'cheap to feed the many' philosophy. Whether it's people just wanting to know more about where their food comes from or ethical and lifestyle choices, it definitely feels like that has changed now."
A lot of Bramble Farm's customers like the fact they are buying from the farm down the road and those who live further away love that their birds are well looked after. Once their turkeys are old enough, they spend their days out in the fields - and you can see the difference in the wellbeing of the animals.
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Turkey farming is not for the faint-hearted from July onwards, as the work increases and orders and requests pour in. But a busy business is the reward for a long year of hard work at the farm. "At this time of the year, we have long days - I'll often be up from 4.30am and then I'll still be processing orders or checking that everything is as it should be on the farm long into the night," says Adrian.
While Bramble Farm starts to sell out of some turkey sizes in the weeks running up to Christmas, there is usually good availability throughout November and early December. And it's certainly worth getting your hands on one. "It makes such a difference having a free-range turkey, slowly matured, as the muscles on the bird have developed properly and so have more flavour," says Adrian.
"Our biggest birds this year are size 11-12, which would feed around 24 people - depending on how hungry they are, of course!"
So, while you're enjoying your turkey dinner in the coming months, make sure to raise a glass in thanks to a Surrey farming family who are bringing joy to so many.