Tag Archives: Food producers

02 
Jul

What’s in Season Now?

A fun quiz to start this week triggered by the question what’s in season now. The answer is at the bottom of the page.

  • Who represented Ireland more than once at the Eurovision Song Contest in the 1980s?
  • What bird does anserine refer to?
  • Which actor had the starring role in Walker, Texas Ranger?
  • Finally, what one word links these answers? Read on for clues!

Now, what’s in season currently? It’s a good time for asparagus, basil and beetroot which are reaching their prime in terms of ripeness and taste. Carrots and courgettes are at their best over the next two months and we are beginning to see blackberries and blackcurrants ripen.

Artichokes and cherries are coming along nicely as are broad beans and broccoli, not to mention the seasonal favourites of redcurrants and raspberries.

Berry Tasty

Strawberries and cream

One berry that may not be very well known is the tayberry which should be ready for picking by the end of July. Similar to the loganberry, the tayberry is a cross between a blackberry and a red raspberry.

Cone-shaped, it has a strong aromatic flavour and is named after Scotland’s Tay River. If you want to know what one tastes like, try Waterhouse Fayre who produces an amazing array of jams from hybrids such as tayberries, tummelberries and boysenberries. The berries are either grown on site or sourced from local growers in the South West.

Alternative Veg?

Have you heard of samphire? There are two types of this sea vegetable – marsh and rock – but only marsh samphire is widely available. Marsh samphire has vibrant green stalks, similar to baby asparagus, with a distinctively crisp and salty taste. It can be used raw in salad, though it tends to be very salty so it is more often boiled or steamed for a few minutes.

But the good news is that it is now ready for consumption! Head over to Devon and visit Riverford if you want to buy samphire that has been grown in an organically certified Devon field that was flooded by the sea.

Marrow Time

Finally, it’s what you’ve been waiting for: the great British marrow is almost ripe! Marrows are commonly cultivated in the British Isles but it is the marrow growing competitions that send people into a frenzy. The British record is held by a marrow that weighed 171lbs. By the way, the courgette is actually just an immature marrow. If you head to Dorset, you can find all sorts of vegetables, maybe not of record-breaking dimensions, at Wessex Plants (1988) Ltd, a family business supplying professional growers, mainly in the South West of the UK. The present range of plants includes cabbage, cauliflower, calabrese, sprouts, leeks, onions and purple sprouting broccoli amongst others.

Quiz Answers

  • Johnny Logan
  • Goose
  • Chuck Norris

What links them all? They’re all berries of course and with Wimbledon started, so has the season for strawberries and cream.

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Published Date: 2nd July 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Local food, News
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11 
Jun

Bath and North East Somerset (BANES) Food Producers

BANES region food producers

Healthy and sustainable food procurement is increasingly important and in the BANES region, they are taking it very seriously.

In 2017, the West of England Food Procurement Group was set up by four West of England local authorities including BANES. This has the aim of providing leadership on healthy and sustainable food procurement, catering and public health. The group works together to exchange information, share best practice and identify initiatives and actions; to support healthy and sustainable food procurement across the West of England.

And there are plenty of producers in BANES from which to choose in every food category. If you are looking for vegetables, try Plowright Organics. Mr Plowright started growing organic vegetables in 2000. He now runs a very successful veg box scheme as well as supplying wholesale markets.

At the end of last year, the company added an even more attractive item to its menu to offset the leeks, potatoes, carrots, onions etc. This is a fully compostable (plastic free) bag which is used to pack leafy produce. The bags are made using GMO-free starch from thistles, and will break down fully.

Family Affairs

If you really can’t live without quinoa, then the Bath Farm Girls can help you out. A family affair, the company provides the local community as well as the British Quinoa Company. The farm also produces wheat, barley and linseed grapes. It also runs a Countryside Stewardship scheme developing wildlife habitat areas and pollen and nectar mixes across the farm.

Oils and mayonnaise are the specialities of Bath Harvest Oils, pressed and bottled with love in Somerset. The company produces numerous flavoured oils such as lemon and basil as well as the trademark rapeseed oil, which contains vitamin E and Omega 3. This is produced by cold pressing small batches of seed grown on the Wilmington Farm. The family has been farming for four generations and can boast that Bath Harvest Rapeseed Oil is a fully traceable ‘field to fork’ artisan product.

Grown Green is a double award-winning sustainable market garden, based at Hartley Farm in Winsley. Founded in 2010, vegetables, herbs, salads and flowers are grown following organic standards year-round in polytunnels, herb beds and fields.

BANES Cheese and Meat

Do you need cheese? Then try Homewood Cheeses based in Ubley in the beautiful Chew Valley. The company makes its own cheeses by hand with ewes milk from two Somerset flocks. Choose from Fresh Ewes Cheese (curd), Halloumi, Ricotta, Pickled Ewes Cheese (feta-style) and a family of washed curd cheeses including Old Demdike. Homewood can be found every Saturday at the Bath Farmers Market and on the first Sunday of the month at the Frome Independent.

Finally, Larkhall Butchers is a multi-award winning shop situated in the heart of Larkhall, on the outskirts of Bath. A well-stocked traditional butcher’s counter supplements a selection of cooked and cured meats, as well as fresh fish and other accompaniments. The butcher’s is famous for its own sausages made freshly on site, using pea flour as a substitute for rusks for a range of delicious 100% gluten free sausages.

And these are just a few of the local food producers that AC Services Southern found in the BANES region.

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Published Date: 11th June 2019
Category: Blog, Local food, News
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14 
May

Are We Killing Biodiversity

Biodiversity is under threat

As a company focused on servicing and maintaining Rational ovens for all sorts of catering businesses; it’s not surprising we’re also interested in food sourcing and safeguarding the future. For many of our clients the choice of ingredients and being different is important. This is why the first UN study of biodiversity set our alarm bells ringing.

This warns of “humanity’s failure to protect biodiversity”. The Food and Agriculture Organisation issued the report and the findings are pretty stark. Over the past 20 years, around 20% of the vegetated surface of the earth has become less productive. In other words, our global capacity to produce food is weakening.

What do we mean by biodiversity ? According to definition it is the “variability among living organisms from all sources, including terrestrial, marine, and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part…diversity within species, between species, and of ecosystems.” On the David Attenborough scale of climate-changing significance, it is way up there.

The Decline of Natural Assets

Scientists involved in the report found evidence the natural support systems underpinning the human diet are deteriorating around the world. Factories, farms and urban infrastructure in particular, are capturing land and pumping out chemicals. This is leading to a debilitating loss in natural assets. These include forests, coral reefs, soil biodiversity, grasslands, and genetic diversity in crop and livestock species.

There is a reduction in the amount of species indirectly involved in food production. Examples of these are crop-pest eating birds and water-purifying mangrove trees. Pollinators are at risk, and they provide essential services to three-quarters of the world’s crops.

But if we are producing more food than ever before, as we are, how is this possible? The sobering reality is that we are relying on ever-expanding monocultures. Incredibly, two-thirds of crop production comes from just nine species. These are maize, sugar cane, wheat, potatoes, rice, soybeans, oil-palm fruit, cassava and sugar beet.

There are at least 6,000 cultivated plant species categorised as being in decline. At the same time wild food sources are becoming harder to find. Agriculture and urbanisation are taking much of the blame with habitat loss, pesticides, pollution, invasive species, pathogens and climate change.

Are We In Danger?

Is this overdependence on a handful of products a problem? Seemingly so, as the report cited the potato famine in Ireland in the 1840s; the 20th century cereal crop failures in the US; and more recently the losses of taro production in Samoa in the 1990s as examples of when overdependence can have a brutal impact on humans.

Even the Lancett has joined the crusade, stating that “our diets are the largest cause of climate change and biodiversity loss is now overwhelming”. The global food system is responsible for around 30% of total greenhouse gas emissions, with the livestock sector on its own accounting for about 14.5% of that figure. Its solution? Halve global meat consumption, and more than double the volume of whole grains, pulses, nuts, fruit and vegetables.

If that’s too radical, in 2016, another report suggested an alternative solution. “Possible policy options include better protection of natural environments and ecosystems, limiting the scope of intensive agriculture, and finding alternatives to pesticides.”

Last word goes to Michael Higgins, Ireland’s president. “Around the world, the library of life that has evolved over billions of years – our biodiversity – is being destroyed, poisoned, polluted, invaded, fragmented, plundered, drained and burned at a rate not seen in human history. If we were coal miners we’d be up to our waists in dead canaries.”

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Published Date: 14th May 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Local food, News
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30 
Apr

Picking What’s in Season in May

Spring lamb and asparagus

Food is seasonal and spring is the time for new crops to be harvested. There is an abundance of all-year round produce which we enjoy as part of our staple diets, such as potatoes, onions, beef, bananas, chicken and cabbage.

But some food sparks great anticipation. Not least in this category is asparagus which is coming in to fruition as we speak.

Around the world, we herald the arrival of this humble vegetable with excitement and even festivals. The British Asparagus Festival, celebrates the start of the asparagus season where a fleet of vintage cars takes the crop to its final destination from the Vale of Evesham.

From Asparagus to Lamb

Asparagus is the young shoots of a cultivated lily plant. It is one of the delicacies of the vegetable world although it is notoriously labour intensive to grow. French asparagus is purple, the British and American varieties are green whereas in Spain and Holland, asparagus is white. And as far as nutrition goes, all types have high levels of vitamins A and C, potassium, iron and calcium.

Other food coming in May includes strawberries, gooseberries, carrots and tomatoes. At their very best are spring greens, sorrel, peas, new potatoes, halibut, crab, rhubarb and of course, spring lamb. Spring lamb, also called early or summer lamb, is three to five months old.

Also keep an eye out for aubergines, the fruit that thinks it’s a vegetable and which has gained new interest with the vegan and vegetarian options now readily available. Although it is native to South-East Asia, it now grows all over the world with a huge range of varieties from the bulbous, glossy, deep purple zeppelin-shaped version to the scarcely-bigger-than-a-pea variety.

Fruit Picker Shortage?

Last summer, the great British farming community began to raise concern about fruit pickers. The majority of pickers come from abroad on a seasonal basis. In fact, according to the National Farmers Union, only 1% of the annual 60,000 seasonal farm workers are British. The industry relies on overseas labour which they worry will be deeply affected by Brexit. The vast majority come from Eastern Europe, particularly Bulgaria and Romania. With a stay of execution until Halloween, the farmers might breathe a sigh of relief for this year, but the problem still looms.

Last year, labour shortages driven by economic shifts affected strawberry crops in particular; with produce left rotting in the fields and hydroponic poly-tunnels. At the time, there was also a reported 30 to 40% shortfall in labour.

Some are campaigning for a seasonal agricultural workers scheme that could include countries outside of the EU. This would allow pickers to come and work for a defined and limited period of time as a solution. Or some maintain that the best way to avoid a crisis is to entice more Brits to work the field. The early hours, long days, physical toll and seasonality are offset by the joy of working in the open air and earning as much as you can pick.

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Published Date: 30th April 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Local food, News
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12 
Mar

Oxfordshire Food Service Suppliers

Oxfordshire food sources show that the university is not the only thing in the county

Oxfordshire is seen as a county of spires and students. But behind the iconic university are many excellent Oxfordshire food service companies supplying clients far and wide.

Philip Dennis, is a family-owned regional wholesaler, with clients from the Midlands to the South West. Fresh meat and fish are readily available. The company is proud to support caterers and business owners of all types and sizes to achieve their highest ambitions.

The business has been active for over a century, supplying thousands of pubs, schools, restaurants and hotels. It has gained a reputation for quality and excellence, boasting state-of-the-art facilities. The company is well-known as dedicated fish and butchery specialists.

Sweet Trends

Philip Dennis also advises on new trends, such as the current interest in cakes and biscuits. “We’re going to continue to see a rise in complex or eye-catching cake designs as consumers want cakes that look as good as they taste. This feeds into the need for ‘Instagram worthy’ desserts that will help cafes, coffee shops and restaurants to entice people in,” reads the company blog.

Bidfood is another food service company dedicated to the customers’ requirements with an Oxfordshire base. Its business philosophy is summed up by “the food and drinks trends of 2019 represent not just how and what consumers are wanting to eat and drink, but the context in which they consider the production, purchase and consumption of food and drink products.” So they supply the customer with the right ingredients so that caterers can create the ideal menu.

Bidfood provides a range of vegan food such as Kara’s vegan brioche style bun that does not contain dairy. This complements the Heck vegan burgers which are plant based and free from soya, wheat and gluten.

Local Oxfordshire Food Sources

Witney’s Evenlode Foods Limited was founded in 2005 as a specialist food ingredients supplier. It particularly emphasises powder forms of vegetable oils and fats, emulsifiers, dairy ingredients and cocoa products. The company also makes bespoke blends and finished products based on those ingredientswe sell. According to a spokesperson, “our vegetable fat powders, non dairy creamers, toppings, foamers and nutritional oils are used in bakery, soups, sports nutrition, beverages and savoury mixes.”

Finally, there is Carterton’s Jolly Foods, delivering high quality foods to Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds. Locally-sourced meats, cheeses, fresh fish and deli items are all on offer from this “bespoke and friendly Oxfordshire company.”

Poultry, game, lamb, beef and pork are all locally farmed and complement the range of finest fish and frozen products. Jolly offers the finest branded beef as Windrush Meade. The free-range poultry offering is sourced from the Creedy Carver farm in Crediton, Devon. Jolly Foods also offer seasonal game. So from September grouse, partridge, venison, dice game meat and pigeons are available as well as snipe, mallard and woodcock.

From food service companies with depots to small local suppliers, Oxfordshire food has much to offer AC Services’ catering clients.

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Published Date: 12th March 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Local food, News
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26 
Feb

We’re Running Out of Chocolate

Cocoa beans for chocolate

Climate change is a phenomenon that the majority of us understand and sympathise with. There are numerous global organisations raising awareness about the environment, our carbon footprints, the decimation of the rainforests, the melting of the polar ice caps…and now we can add chocolate to the list. Yes, chocolate could very well become an endangered species by the year 2050.

This is a serious issue. For those who consume bar after bar of glorious milk, dark or white chocolate daily, it’s a very serious issue.

Chocolate is a global industry worth about $100 billion a year. The matter of a catastrophic shortage was raised last year. Headlines across the world foreboded the demise of chocolate production due to climate change and disease.

A report issued jointly by the University of California’s Innovative Genomics Institute and the Mars company highlighted the fear that cacao plants are “slated to disappear by as early as 2050 thanks to warmer temperatures and drier weather conditions.”

Global Warming

Currently, more than 50% of the global chocolate production comes from two West African countries, Ghana and the Ivory Coast. However, if global warming continues at the current rate, these regions will experience a 2.1ºC increase in temperature and ultimately result in a “considerable reduction in [suitable growing] area” for Ghana’s cocoa production and an “almost total elimination [of suitable growing area] in the Ivory Coast.”

Cacao is the food crop used to produce chocolate. 40-50 million people worldwide depend upon this plant for their livelihoods, according to the World Cocoa Foundation. Not to mention the billions who eat chocolate. However, as with all plant forms, the crops can be affected by diseases and atmospheric changes.

Scientists predict that climate change will significantly reduce the amount of land suitable for cultivating cacao in the coming decades. Though probably not to the point of extinction it could reduce the amount of cacao-producing land to an even narrower region. This in turn would speed up the risk of disease.

DNA Advances

Before you start stockpiling Cadbury’s crème eggs however (alongside the croissants, baguettes, sauerkraut and other European delicacies that allegedly will be hard to obtain post-Brexit), it is not all doom and gloom. The good news is that scientists are working hard to develop technologies to alter the DNA in cacao plants to become more resistant to both viral and fungal diseases. CRISPR is the same gene-editing technology associated with creating designer babies, eradicating diseases, and resurrecting the woolly mammoth.

Just as with the banana crisis we covered last year, scientists are assuring people that a solution will be found. As early as 2008, Mars launched the Cacao Genome Project. This is an effort to publicly release the sequence of the cacao gene so breeders could “begin identifying traits of climate change adaptability, enhanced yield, and efficiency in water and nutrient use.”

And when it comes to global warming, West Africa is not the only suitable region on the planet. Indeed, cacao plants are being grown in Australia. Globally, everyone can do their bit to help with climate control, however small. Whatever else happens, we cannot allow chocolate to become extinct. Ever.

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Published Date: 26th February 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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19 
Feb

The Source Show 2019 Report

Source Show 2019

Why bother attending other shows when the Source Show 2019 offered “everything a food or hospitality business could want” all in one place! The show was held at the Westpoint venue in Exeter from 6 to 7 February. As the South West’s largest show of its kind, it has expanded by 35% over the past two years.

Source Show 2019 offered a range of products and services, from produce to furniture and innovative equipment as well as this year’s kitchen design trends and the most advanced business services. Visitors and exhibitors flocked to the show, not only from the South West, but from other parts of the UK and internationally.

The Source Show 2019 gave visitors the opportunity to discover quality local products with fascinating provenance stories and to meet passionate producers and knowledgeable suppliers face-to-face. This year was no disappointment with a spread of comparative tastings, networking opportunities and inspirational experiences; and a fair few new faces on the exhibition market.

Rising stars

The Newcomers’ area showcased new companies from the South West that have never exhibited at a trade show before. Exmoor Distillery is a small family run distillery located in the Somerset countryside. Here all products are distilled, bottled, labelled and distributed including the premium quality Northmoor Gin first launched in July 2018.

Just Desserts is an independent rural business delivering artisan cakes and slices to cafes, delicatessens, farm shops and outdoor caterers throughout Somerset and Devon. It uses organic flours, free range eggs and locally sourced ingredients.

The Wholesome Baker produces luxury, light and tasty pastries from a Master Baker with 35 years experience. There is the option of ready baked or ready to bake with all products freshly frozen to encapsulate the flavours. New for 2019 are gluten, sugar free and vegan product options.

Demonstration Kitchen

Recipes for success were served up in the Demo Kitchen with advice, inspiration and culinary innovation on display. Students mingled with experts to create some mouth-watering menus. These included Cornish hake, celeriac and apple with a Somerset cider sauce from Sophie Kennard, South West Student/Apprentice Chef of the Year at Devon & Exeter College and The Swan, Bampton.

Overall South West Chef of the Year and South West Professional Chef of the Year, Tim Kendall countered this with a dish of duck with blackberry, celeriac and endive and John Dory, Jerusalem artichoke, jasmine and sorrel. There were also multiple talks, demonstrations and tastings of the nation’s favourite tipple, gin, as well as a pasty crimping competition and a butchery masterclass.

Next year’s show is already scheduled for 6-7 Feb 2020 and if this year is anything to go by, it will be a roaring success and bigger and better than ever before. For details on exhibiting and visiting, visit the Source Show website.

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Published Date: 19th February 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Events, News
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05 
Feb

Gloucestershire Food Producers

Gloucestershire food producers from fish smokers to truffles via porridge

Gloucestershire lies close to the Welsh border with the River Severn flowing through it and the Cotswolds to the east and the Forest of Dean to the southwest. Food production from this county has always been prolific, from lamb and pork to elvers and eels to cheese and pickles. Today, the food industry in the county is thriving and varied.

The award-winning Severn & Wye Smokery is one of the finest fish markets in the country. It sells a whole host of seasonal British and international fish as well as shellfish and the smokery’s own smoked haddock and kippers. After a three-year renovation project, Severn & Wye Smokery opened The Barn in October 2017. The former derelict outbuildings have been transformed into a foodie destination. This now encompasses a restaurant, bar, fish market, deli, gift shop and café.

Initially starting with smoked wild salmon and smoked eel from the rivers Severn and Wye, the business has grown to produce a full range of smoked fish products. So popular is the product range that the company sends weekly shipments to Italy, Germany, Greece, Dubai, Bahrain and France. The production techniques and smoking processes are still very traditional with grading, filleting, curing and cutting still mostly done by hand.

Truffle Delicacies

If you are looking for something a bit more exotic, TruffleHunter is the UK’s leading supplier of fresh truffles and truffle products. Located in the Cotswolds, the company produces truffle oils, minced truffles, truffle salt, truffle honey, truffle mustard and truffle mayonnaise. It sources truffles from the finest truffle regions across Europe, as well as from Somerset and Wiltshire.

Trufflehunter began in the UK in 2010 and today supplies restaurants throughout the UK and much further afield. The main markets are the UK, Germany, USA, Japan, Singapore and India. All truffle products are produced in small handmade batches in the Cotswold factory.

Mustard Through the Ages

An artisan product that was featured in Shakespeare’s Henry IV, is Tewkesbury mustard. The Tewkesbury Mustard Company is now the only true producer continuing a tradition that dates back to the 16th century. The product range is hand-made in a small kitchen in Tewkesbury. Legend has it that Tewkesbury Mustard Balls covered in gold leaf were presented to Henry VIII when he visited Tewkesbury in 1535.

Renowned for their excellence since medieval times, these balls were sent all over the country. The ingredients are simply local grown mustard seed, mixed with an infusion of horseradish. This is steeped in water, milk, cider or cider vinegar until it was workable. Now, Tewkesbury mustard is still as popular as ever.

Porridge Specialist

Specialising in porridge and couscous, Wolfys is the brainchild of Kitchen Garden Foods, traditional preserve makers. It was launched in the summer of 2013 after a challenge to find a hot, filling and tasty snack for a festival caterer. Each pot of Wolfys has another little pot hidden under the lid. This is jam, marmalade or honey in the porridge and chutney or relish in the couscous. Everything is made by hand in Stroud. Everything is vegetarian and the couscous is vegan.

Gloucestershire food producers prove that in our region there is a wealth of local suppliers of all types of food. And those producers also supply internationally such is their quality.

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Published Date: 5th February 2019
Category: Blog, Local food, News
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04 
Dec

Good Food Show Birmingham Report

BBC good food show winter logoThe BBC Good Food Shows  have kicked off the season. Last week, it was the turn of the NEC to host one of the most eagerly-awaited food shows of the year.

With Christmas just around the corner, the flagship Winter Show offered a feast for visitors of produce and entertainment. Top chefs joined exhibitors to present a veritable smorgasbord of culinary delights. These included demonstrations, new products and fabulous retail opportunities.

The Birmingham Winter Show combined the UK’s greatest cookery experts, with plenty of festive inspiration and live entertainment in the Big Kitchen and other stages. Greeting visitors to the NEC was the show’s new contribution, Street Food. Brand new for 2018, delicious street food made a successful appearance at the Show. An army of street food vendors in the outside areas, brought a huge selection of ready to eat food for all visitors.

Big Kitchen

The Big Kitchen is always the highlight of the show. Here top celebrity chefs cook festive recipes and share tips for seasonal winter foods. Tom Kerridge and Michael Roux Junior were just two of the famous names demonstrating their skills to the public. The highlight was the demonstration by everyone’s favourite Bake Off judge, Mary Berry.

This year, the Big Kitchen was sponsored by Travelsphere, who offered additional free themed sessions to the menu. This included a taste of India with Cyrus Todiwala, chef patron of Cafe Spice Namaste, award-winning Pan-Indian restaurant in London and also Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen and The River Restaurant (in Goa). A taste of Spain was presented by José Pizarro described as the Godfather of Spanish cooking.

BBC Good Food Stage

Barney Desmazery hosted the BBC Good Food stage. There, he offered live interviews into our favourite chefs’ success and seasonal advice from some local foodie experts too. The sessions involved an interview with Nadiya Hussain and a masterclass from Stacie Stewart.

The BBC Good Food Pop-Up Restaurant offered a sit-down meal, of two or three courses, inspired by some of the most popular seasonal dishes from the country’s leading food website,  www.bbcgoodfood.com. The succulent menu presented delights such as:

  • chicken, leek, smoked bacon and apricot terrine with watercress salad,
  • baked goat’s cheese with beetroot, honey and thyme and
  • main courses including garlic cheese-stuffed turkey breast wrapped in pancetta, with parmesan roast potatoes, buttered sprouts and glazed carrots.

Winter Kitchen

The Winter Kitchen, sponsored by Magimix inspired by a range of seasonal dishes for the festive season with contributions from Mary Berry, James Martin, Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith amongst many other top chefs. Complementary to this was the Skills School where a number of experts shared their secrets from knife skills with Zwilling to sourdough masterclasses.

At AC Services Southern, we think it’s always a good idea to attend the Good Food Shows. These help us to learn new trends and to judge consumer reactions. That way our business never gets stale.

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Published Date: 4th December 2018
Category: Blog, Events, News
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27 
Nov

Let’s Talk Christmas Turkey

Christmas turkeyTradition plays a major role in choosing Christmas food. At some point before the big day, we decide where and when to do The Big Shop. And it’s a major event in the calendar. Whether it’s off to one of the high street supermarkets or down to the local butcher for the Christmas turkey.

But tastes change significantly: more and more people, especially younger members of the family are making life choices. Some become vegans or vegetarians, some are gluten or lactose intolerant, others demand free range…so as a commercial buyer, where do you source your Christmas turkey?

Turkey All Round

Wherever you are in South West England and South Wales, there is an easy way to find your closest turkey farm by using the NFU finder . Just enter your postcode and set the range. The list of local farms pops up for you to contact like Harts in Gloucestershire 

If you are near Exeter, Rosamondford Turkey Farm provides traditional, naturally reared Devon turkeys. The turkeys roam the pastures and are fed on the finest locally produced ingredients. All turkeys are dry-plucked and hand finished to avoiding bruising or marking of the bird. All birds are grown, prepared and supplied on the farm premises. They are only fed a natural cereal and vegetable protein diet without additives or animal proteins. The flavour comes from dense meat and natural marbling.

In South Devon is Scobbiscombe Farm,  a National Trust owned farm in Kingston. The turkeys have been specially bred to grow slowly. The farm also supplies the ‘TINY’ breed of turkey. This is a smaller bird without compromising on the importance of rearing to full maturity.

As a member of the Traditional Farmfresh Turkey Association, assurance is provided of the highest quality turkey and the highest standards in welfare, traditional methods and hygiene. As far as the turkeys go their welfare is identical to that of birds reared on well−run organic enterprises. The turkeys arrive as day-old chicks at the end of June each year and are carefully reared under heat lamps until 5-6 weeks of age. They are fed on a proprietary turkey food which is supplemented with home-grown cereals from 10 weeks of age and they live until approximately 23 weeks of age twice the age that many supermarket turkeys will live.

Organic Turkey

Organic turkey is available in many places but if you are catering in Wales, there is the award-winning organic and free range poultry from Capestone Organic Poultry Ltd . Today the business is run by Justin Scale, the fifth generation to farm at Capestone with all poultry reared, produced and processed on site.

Traditional organic farming methods and working with nature produce a slower-growing bird, reared and produced from slow growing bronze strains. The turkeys have constant daytime access to lush organic pastures on which they are free to roam and forage from four weeks of age.

Don’t Forget the Sprouts

Just space to mention fruit and veg: from fruit to vegetables and from dairy to salads, Milfords supplies a vast area in the south west supplying loose and pre-packed fruit across Devon, Dorchester and Somerset locally from the West Country whenever possible.

In Wales, Peter Broughton Cardiff, is one of Wales’ largest independent fresh fruit and vegetable suppliers. Their fleet of refrigerated trucks, trailers and vans are ready to distribute food, offering exceptional freshness and quality. From kale to carrots, from swede to purple sprouting broccoli, everything is catered for! 

Wherever you get your Christmas turkey, it’s still not too late to source locally.

 

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Published Date: 27th November 2018
Category: Blog, Local food, News
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