Let’s face it, nothing screams Christmas more than a turkey dinner and now it’s finally December I don’t feel guilty writing about it. I more than contributed to the 10 million turkeys consumed last year- in fact I should have sprouted feathers and gobbled off into the sunset after having so much of the stuff. Despite this, I’m never put off eating it on the big day-probably as I get mine from a hidden gem just outside Portaferry on the shores of Strangford Lough.
Marlfield Farm is owned by the Elliott family, and they have been rearing free-range poultry in this picturesque location for more than 40 years. Being artisan producers, the family have been able to rear traditional breeds of turkeys, geese and chickens, which are slow growing and allowed to roam over acres of grassland.
I know its more convenient just picking up a turkey in the supermarket, but its good to buy from the producer when possible. Getting a turkey direct from the farm a day or so before you cook it means its kept pretty fresh in my book. It also makes me happy that the Elliott’s only rear small batches of birds and put their welfare at the top of the agenda. They grow cereals on the farm, feeding home-grown wheat to the birds and make sure they are cosy on a bed of their own straw. During the day they roam over fields on the shores of Strangford Lough and roost in their house over night. Bet you’re thinking if Carlsberg did turkey farms, right?
I’m assuming that a happy turkey is a tasty turkey due to the flavour of these little beauties. I’m putting this down to the fact the turkeys are dry plucked, a process which retains the integrity of the meat bird and prolongs shelflife. This means they can be hung for up to 10 days, a process which enhances both flavour and texture.
With scientists predicting that turkeys will be grown in labs by 2030, now is the time to start enjoying the actual free-range gobblers before it’s too late. Test-tube turkeys don’t sound that appealing to me, but a Marlfield one will be making a welcome return to my Christmas day table this year! And what with turkey sandwiches and turkey curry also on the menu it sounds like I’ll be enjoying them for a few days after too!
If I’ve tempted you to order from Marlfield, call 028427 28235 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Collection can also be arranged in Belfast.
Spotting local hidden gems from the world of beauty, health, fashion, tourism and hospitality. I have my ear to the ground (quite literally) to keep you up to date about the new or interesting products and services from our neck of the woods. If you know one – get in touch on twitter @grainnemcgarvey or at www.pulseprni.com