Duncan Wreathall and his brother Tom farm and produce traditional Christmas turkeys to our Golden Turkey Quality Assurance standard at Forest Lodge Farm in Ingatestone, Essex. Read on to find out more about this family farm producing quality seasonal turkeys since the 1960’s…
Which year did you become an accredited Golden Turkey Farmer – and start producing Golden Turkeys for Christmas?
We have been producing Christmas Turkeys at Forest Lodge Farm since 1965 and have been involved and accredited Golden Turkey farmers from 1988.
How long have you been a farmer / in farming?
I have grown up on the family farm and always played an active role. I returned to the farm after completion of my degree eleven years ago. For the last six years my brother Tom and I have been running the family partnership together.
Do you produce anything else on your farm?
Alongside the Christmas turkey market we are an arable farm growing a range of crops a proportion of which gets utilised as turkey feed.
What do you do in the first 6 months of the year, when not producing turkeys?
We produce turkeys twelve months of the year for differing markets and this maintains a steady workflow all year round.
Apart from selling direct to customers direct – who else do you normally supply Golden Turkeys to?
Our turkeys go to butchers and farm shops all over East Anglia. We sell a large proportion on the farm gate and always donate some to local charities and schools.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I love working outside in the varying seasons and the many different jobs required to keep the farm and the turkeys ticking over.
What would you be doing, if you weren’t a farmer?
An agricultural engineer – I trained in this prior to returning to the farm and had a brief time at JCB which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Tea or Coffee?
Favourite Book or Film?
I fall asleep during most films but I do enjoy The Italian Job. I enjoy reading autobiographies and recently finished Jailbird by Tracy Mackness (The Giggling Pig Lady) which was very good.
Spaghetti bolognaise with lots of cheese!
Best way to relax after a stressful day?
A hot bath and a beer!
How has the Corona Virus Pandemic affected your farm life and business?
Are you planning to make changes in the way you promote your Christmas turkeys?
We have invested more time and effort into our social media platforms but I always aim to maintain a good relationship with my butchers anyway and feel this is more important than ever.
Are you planning to offer a nationwide delivery service?
We aim to support local businesses and butchers as much as possible, so do not operate a nationwide delivery service. We are running a drive through collection service this year and are also encouraging any local customers who are shielding or vulnerable to contact us for advice.
Which social media platforms do you use for your Christmas Turkey business?
We operate two main social media platforms; Facebook and Instagram and have revamped our website this year.
Which do you prefer?
Tom’s wife Elle runs our social media accounts and is generating a good response particularly from Facebook.
Further Details: www.christmas-turkey-essex.co.uk
Facebook: @Forest Lodge Turkeys