Content © 2020
Lishman's of Ilkley
Here we are in Lockdown 2.0 and anticipating that the best we can expect for Christmas dinner is to have 6 people around the table.
So what size turkey should our customers be ordering? More to the point, what will be available?
Let me tell you how John and Annabel, our local turkey farming heroes plan their bird production.
Annabel comes to see me early in the New Year. I give her a cheque for the previous turkeys we bought from them and we have a nice chat about how Christmas trade was. It finishes with ‘how many do you think you’ll need for next Christmas?’ Now you have to bear in mind that this was in January, before we had even heard of Covid 19. The answer was ‘oh about the same again’.
In March, I had a phone call from John asking if we still needed the same amount and roughly what size they would need to be. We considered the pandemic, discussed what could happen, and came to a conclusion that the virus would be well out of the way by December. So we ordered the same as the previous year, and the same sizes.
What happens now is that the turkey farmers then tell the turkey breeders how many eggs to hatch, and in a variation of weights for Christmas. So the hatchery will breed some big turkeys, some middle sized turkeys and some small turkeys which in many month’s time should give us a nice variety of weights for the dinner table.
The birds hatch, the farmer takes delivery of them, they are fed on grain and come December everything falls into place, because most people order a similar size to last time.
You can now see that if most people decide they want a small turkey for Christmas, there will be a problem. There of course could be an abundance of big turkeys though.
Suggestions so far have been:
– Can the turkeys go on a diet? Answer – no, who wants to eat skin and bone?
– Can the turkeys be killed earlier? Answer – no, they will go off or will need to be frozen, and these are best as fresh birds.
– Can’t we just buy some turkeys in from elsewhere which are smaller? Answer – no, we have a great relationship with John and Annabel who have supplied us for over 30 years. They are the best turkeys ever and we want them to supply us for years to come.
The solution, and this is a fabulous alternative to the whole bird because I’ve tested it out; is to have the ‘Half turkey- semi boned’. This is carefully butchered from a bigger turkey and gives you a nice, easy to carve, joint with a wing and a drumstick. There’s white meat and dark meat, it cooks in 2 hours and serves 6 people with some spare for tea. And most importantly, it comes from our local farmer, it’s high welfare, and tastes stunning. It knocks the spots off the boneless turkey breasts from supermarkets with undetermined origins and a texture as dry as cream crackers!