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A Nempnett Pastures Christmas Turkey... Never eat a dry turkey again!

Turkey; a meat that a lot of people only really eat because of tradition, with most reporting a below-average eating experience and are usually sick of it by Boxing Day.

But, does this need to be the case? What if Turkey was juicy all the time, even when cold... imagine that. We might have figured out how to achieve this and we're confident you can and will love turkey again. But how?

It all starts in June, our day-old turkey poults arrive in the middle of June, why is this important? It means they have a long and healthy life; growing slowly over 6 months (over twice the age of a standard supermarket turkey).

We don't feed growth promoters or routine antibiotics as we actually want these birds to grow and develop slowly and naturally. They need to be able to grow a strong skeletal frame which will allow them to range and exercise well when they're out in the pastures.

Age is also important as it has a huge impact on eating quality and flavour. Allowing our birds to reach full maturity at their own natural pace means we get a greater depth of flavour and a higher amount of intramuscular fat, which melts when cooked, making your turkey very juicy!

The bronze turkeys we grow are bred by a farmer called Paul Kelly over in Essex, who has done an exceptional job over the past decade breeding turkeys for excellent eating quality. These traditional bronze turkeys love being outside, eating grass and foraging for bugs. Everyone has heard of the term "you are what you eat", well the more these birds eat from our pasture, the more natural they are and the better they taste! They still need a balanced grain-based feed to be healthy but we do everything we can to encourage them to get the most from the pasture.

When the time comes, we humanely and respectfully dispatch and pluck our turkeys individually, by hand (with the help of a couple of manual machines!). Because this artisan process doesn’t use any water (like they do in larger-scale commercial factories), we create a much cleaner environment and safer product, which then allows us to hang and dry age our birds safely (wet plucked turkeys can't safely be dry aged).

Dry ageing is an age-old tradition which

allows a natural enzyme change to take place; breaking down the connective tissues in the meat, ultimately tenderising it giving it an incredible texture.

Flavour is also enhanced as water is lost from the meat during the dry ageing process. This ironically makes it juicier rather than dryer, meaning the bird will hardly shrink during cooking and will make even crispier skin. We take water away, while others inject it in (apparently) as water is weight and weight is money. We want to give you the best eating experience possible so you come back to us every year, so weight is less important to us and the less water the better.

This process costs a lot more than the modern factory process but, the result is absolutely worth it, if it wasn’t we honestly wouldn’t bother - trust us it’s bloody hard work! Hard work that’s rewarded with exceptional quality, which is exactly what you want on Christmas Day!

When it comes to Christmas morning and cooking your Nempnett Pastures Turkey, fear not we've got you covered with a free fail-proof cooking guide supplied with every bird. It's a very simple and quick method and, if followed, will give you a turkey that will still be juicy on Boxing Day (if there's any left!). I won't go into too much detail but essentially because our turkeys are a lot safer than supermarket equivalents, you don't need to cook them to the same high temperatures. We always get our turkey out when the thermometer reaches 62-65c in the deepest part of the muscle, we then let it rest (uncovered) for a good hour before carving. In this time, it will continue cooking so fear not it won't be raw, but it will be bloody delicious - you never know you might just fall in love with turkey again!

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