Today I may have met the turkey we'll be eating this Christmas Day!
|My Copas Turkey!|
I visited Copas Turkeys, at Kings Coppice farm this morning, just a short drive along many a country lane close to the beautiful Town of Marlow in Cookham. The perfect setting for raising perfectly pampered turkeys: tranquil countryside, close to the River Thames, space to roam, food whenever you like and turkey dogs to protect you. Oh! to be a Copas Turkey!
On arrival I was given a quick tour by the lovely Sarah, who looks after the Marketing at Copas and then got to spend some time with the turkeys, all at their full maturity now...
Here's the video of me chatting with the Copas turkeys! (sorry about the film quality, but I just wanted to capture the essence! The birds look so healthy, happy and are truly pampered! They are such inquisitive birds and clearly love to chat! These are the Free Range Bronze Turkeys... Say hello to the girls!
So what is so special about a Copas Turkey?
Copas Turkeys are free range, feed when they like, and nurtured until they reach their natural full maturity, which is way longer than the standard supermarket bird. Copas turkeys live to 24-26 weeks in total, so they are naturally fully grown adults. (Supermarket birds live to just half that, they are mere teenagers by comparison.)
Because these turkeys live such a long life, they develop that natural fat layer. So when roasting them, the need for basting and layering on the bacon is totally eliminated. It's as if they come ready basted, with their own layer of fat!
These Copas turkeys freely roam around the farm in the cherry orchards earlier in the year but are now in the reeded areas, all safely enclosed within electric fencing of course. They feed when they like, just like they do in the wild. And the turkey dogs keep a good eye on them keeping the foxes away!
They are hand plucked, and then game hung for two weeks, so they'll be ready for 22 December, which is when most courier deliveries are dispatched overnight and delivered 23rd December, in time for the final Christmas preparations. It is the fact they are game hung and grown to full maturity that gives them the great flavour, not the breed they are.
How come so many weight options are on offer if they are all the same age?
At Copas turkeys they rear over 40,000 turkeys each year, of which there are 20 different breeds. Because of the variety of breed, and the fact they feed when they like, this allows the birds to be differing sizes, and weights. This then allows Copas, and therefore us, the discerning customer, to choose the weight of bird we want, depending on how many we're having for Christmas Dinner! The range is from 4kg - 14kg!
Why are they so very very pampered?
These turkeys must be the most pampered turkey. They remind me of the Happy Egg adverts, where you see the chickens roaming wild around the farm, with the single aim: to make Happy Eggs. Well these are totally happy turkeys. I am sure as they chatted away, they were all smiling at me! Their single aim: to be the show stopper piece in that delicious Christmas Dinner!
Little do they know their time is nearly up. But just think what a smile they'll put on our
faces when we tuck into that succulent full tasting turkey on Christmas Day!
They listen to Radio 2, considered to be a mellow radio station, where there's a soothing mix of music, informative chatter and healthy banter, so the turkeys get used to human voices.
These birds can be very sensitive, and the last thing you want is for the turkeys to panic! They end up hurting each other!
And for that reason, in the run up to Bonfire Night / Guy Fawkes, the turkeys are introduced to fireworks so that when the local neighbourhood have their own parties, the turkeys don't freak out!
How can you buy a Copas Turkey?
You can buy direct from copasturkeys.co.uk or through any of the Britains's Best Delis and Farm Shops. You won't find them in the supermarket chains but they can be purchased in Fortnum and Masons or in Selfridges in London too.
What if I don't want Turkey?
If turkey isn't your thing, this is the first year it's possible to get a very very special Copas Chicken. Reared in exactly the same way as Copas Turkeys, these chickens also grow to their full maturity, and are then plucked and game hung. So it is also possible to get that perfectly pampered chicken and get to taste how chicken really should taste!
So you know what I am ordering up today? My Copas Turkey. And we're opting for Farm Collection, rather than home delivery, so we can take part in the Christmas celebrations down on the farm on 23 December, and collect our bird at the same time. However it doesn't matter where you live in the UK, as they deliver by overnight courier and the bird is carefully packaged with greaseproof paper, the giblets of course, and a sprig of rosemary, and are carefully further wrapped using insulated material to keep it at its best whilst in transit to you. All birds are delivered by courier before 2pm on 23 December.
If you fancy giving Copas turkeys a try this year, here's the link for more information
Don't you just love the build up to Christmas? I can't wait to try these turkeys. So be sure to check back in the New Year to hear how we got on!
So what are you most looking forward to this Christmas?
The Lunchbox Lady x
Disclosure: having been talking turkey last week with Neil Nugent it seemed a natural next step to visit our local turkey farm in Cookham to see these handsome healthy birds. Opinions are my own. Thanks to Sarah for allowing me to interview her at such short notice!