Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Walters Turkeys

This week I had the privilege of visiting the Walters family farm in Aldworth, West Berkshire. Tucked away down country lanes, atop the rolling hills of the Berkshire downs is Bower Farm. The land has been farmed by the Walters family for more than 100 years and produces cereal crops, sheep, cattle and the reason for my visit: turkey.

I was warmly welcomed by the lovely Kate Walters and taken on a tour of the barns and fields where the family's turkeys thrive.

The Walters select slow growing traditional breeds of turkey, that are allowed to fully mature naturally. Their cereal based diet includes barley, oats and wheat. It is free from growth promoters, and much of it is grown and milled on the farm. The birds have been freely roaming the grassy fields and meadows from sunrise until sunset every day since last August and spend their nights in straw bedded barns. On the wet and fairly miserable day I was there, many had chosen to spend the day in the barn as well, and I don't blame them, it looked pretty inviting to me!

The Walters' use traditional farming methods but aren't afraid to make use of modern technology. Hanging from the ceiling of the barn is a platform. All day long turkeys hop on and off of the platform. They may think they are playing or exercising. But a clever computer is actually monitoring their weight and feeding this back!

The modern facilities continue in the production barns which are bright and spotlessly clean with purpose built refrigerated rooms to ensure the turkey you receive is in the best possible condition.

All Walters Turkeys are dry plucked and hand finished on the farm. As the birds are mature, they have a natural fat layer, and can be game hung for up to two weeks. This ensures the turkey is moist, tender and full of flavour. 

Out in the fields the turkeys braving the rain are highly inquisitive. As soon as we opened the gate to enter the field, turkeys started heading our way. Some sedately, some breaking into a run. Those coming down the small hill, with their wings slightly out, heads down and ungainly gait looked as if they might take off at any moment.  The stags were full of attitude, puffing up and showing off their bright crowns.

My new friends

They didn't make it easy for me to photograph the field of them as they flocked around me, and then followed me out. But they did make me feel welcome!

I'm very pleased to be able to offer Walters Turkeys to our customers this Thanksgiving and Christmas. Happy birds from happy farmers who pride themselves on the care and attention they give to the welfare of their flocks. You can find out more about the sizing and prices on our website.

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