Last year I wrote about my visit to OLD CASTLE FARM in Tonna, where Ian and Cheryl Roberts rear free-range bronze turkeys. I had placed an order for a bird and was eagerly awaiting its delivery. It was to travel up the M4 with us where we were spending Christmas with our daughter and family in Maidstone.
Christmas morning arrived and we left with the car packed to the gunwales with all the festive lunch paraphernalia. Turkey – check, home-made stuffing – check, several litres of Jamie Oliver’s recipe chicken wing gravy – check, Christmas presents – check etc. etc. Four hours later we arrived at our destination and I took my place in the kitchen.
Each Old Castle Farm turkey comes with very detailed cooking instructions, and I had been told by Cheryl that I was to follow them to the letter, which I did. My instincts told me that I should be cooking it for longer – but I was confident that Cheryl knew best!
If I had been a little more forward thinking I would have taken a photograph of the cooked bird, but I think I got too involved in the festivities and probably the wine. What I do know is that having rested the bird as per instructions, it was perfectly cooked and smelt amazing. The breast was succulent and moist as were the legs and thighs, but more importantly it was the flavour – it tasted so good.
The next day, after a brisk walk on Samphire Hoe – the area of land that was created from the excavation of the Channel Tunnel, it was back home for our traditional dinner of cold turkey, salad and chips. If possible the turkey was even better the next day. I ordered a 7 kg bird as we all enjoy eating it cold as well as in pies and sandwiches – we must be one of the only families that feels sad when the carcass has been picked clean and we have to wait another 12 months.
I will certainly be putting in my order again this year – a super-market bird will simply not cut the mustard. High animal welfare standards are at the heart of Ian and Cheryl’s farming life, the birds get no routine antibiotics, no GM grain, no stress, and their beaks aren’t clipped.
They are housed in purpose built barns where they sleep at night – although they don’t roost. During the day they are free to roam the farm and are usually to be found watching Ian go about his work.
Old Castle Farm is the only licensed poultry farm in the whole of the Swansea area, and when the time comes for them to be dispatched, they don’t have to endure a stressful journey as they are slaughtered on site.
In addition to the turkeys, they have a flock of rare breed badger faced sheep, chicken and geese, bee hives and a farm shop selling not only their own meat and honey, but carefully selected products from other local suppliers. The farm shop is open on the last weekend of every month.
Tel: 01639 644127 or 07973 890227