Last Christmas we had sold all our allotted turkeys by the beginning of December and had to disappoint several customers who had heard how good these Free Range Organic Bronze turkeys are.
So this year Juliet Holt-Wilson has agreed to assign even more of her special birds to us. We asked her to write a bit about how she rears such delicious turkeys;
“We rear chicks here from the day they are hatched. They are grown slowly to their full maturity, and fed GM-free organic grain without antibiotics. During the day, the turkeys are in fields and hedgerows doing what turkeys do, foraging and roaming about. They are brought in at night with the help of Blue, our sheep dog, to sleep in airy barns with plenty of places to roost.
We then prepare the birds on the farm to reduce stress at slaughter. Because they are slow- growing, fully mature and active, their dense meat structure benefits hugely in terms of flavour and texture by hanging or dry ageing. So we dry pluck, which is labour-intensive compared with quicker wet plucking. This means we can then hang the birds for a minimum of seven days in a cool temperature-controlled barn. It’s a traditional process which is difficult to do on a large scale.”
Stroudco is also pleased to welcome back Jo Neale with her delicious home-made Christmas puddings.
Jo’s Christmas puddings are lovingly made in small batches by hand in her Thrupp kitchen. She takes fair trade raisins, sultanas, currants, Bramley apples from her Dad’s garden, dark cane sugar, mixed peel, breadcrumbs, vegetable suet, flour, spices, flaked almonds, grated carrot, lemons, local free-range eggs and of course, brandy! When the mixture is well-stirred it is potted up and simmered for 14 hours in an Aga until it is moist and cooked. The finished puddings are cooled, wrapped in muslin and then kept in a cool dark place to mature for a few weeks before Christmas. This maturing process means that Jo’s deadline for orders will be 5th December.
Those of us who have tasted Jo’s Christmas puddings in previous years have already put in our orders on the Stroudco website, but if you want to reserve one for yourself make sure to get your order in before the cut-off date of 2nd December.
To see the full range of local produce available on Stroudco Food Hub or to download a catalogue go to www.stroudco.org.uk or just pop in and see the food hub in operation any Saturday from 12 noon to 1pm at Stroud Valleys School on Castle Street GL5 2HP