Demand growing for the 'Aberdeen Angus' of turkeys

David McEvoy with some of his 9,000 bronze turkeys
David McEvoy with some of his 9,000 bronze turkeys

Although most people will be cranking up for an extra busy fortnight in the run-up to Christmas, David McEvoy can relax and take things a little easier.

The head man at Termonfeckin Delicious was in the process of preparing the last of 9,000 birds for slaughter this week, as the busiest time of the year ends for the family concerned.

Close to one million turkeys will be consumed in Ireland this festive period, with around 300,000 of these birds imported, and Mr McEvoy says the market for home-produced, free-range turkeys continues to grow.

"We are very happy with how this year has gone. We focus on trying to sell direct to the consumer and we have somewhere around 200 or 300 left to sell and they'll be gone this week," he commented.

The birds are processed off-site and delivered to the buyers in modified packaging.

The McEvoys sell a range of bronze turkey breeds, including Devon Bronze, Cambridge Bronze, Woldstard Bronze and Hollyberry Bronze.

Unlike most house-fed turkeys which are hatched in September, McEvoy's turkeys are hatched in June and raised outdoors from late August on a grass and wheat diet.

Mr McEvoy likened the turkeys to different cattle breeds and he claimed that giving the birds the additional three months meant they grew to their natural maximum weight at slaughter.

Get the latest news from the Farming Independent team 3 times a week.

This produced "extremely plump" birds that Mr McEvoy described as the "Aberdeen Angus of turkeys".

"Our birds might weigh the same as a turkey that's finished in four months but they have 40pc more meat on the breast," he claimed.

While some retailers have in the past used cheap imported turkeys as loss leaders to drive footfall at Christmas, Mr McEvoy insisted that their prices compared favourably with the supermarkets.

"We sell a 5.5kg bronze turkey for €58; similar turkeys in the supermarkets cost between €65 and €120," he maintained.

The business, which employs close to 100 people at this time of the year, also prepares dry cured hams and honey clove hams by hand.

Meanwhile, IFA poultry chairman Nigel Renaghan urged consumers to support local farmers by buying Irish-reared turkeys this year.

"Buy an Irish turkey and be sure of what you're getting for Christmas. Irish turkeys are reared to the highest possible welfare standards and are fully traceable back to farm," he said.

Mr Renaghan urged consumers to check origin labels or to challenge the butcher or retailer directly about the origin of the birds being offered.

Indo Farming

For Stories Like This and More
Download the Free Farming Independent App