Becky and Ian Perry at Ledmacoy Turkeys are one of our more recent family farmers to have joined our association, (the TFTA), producing their birds to the UK’s top independent accreditation for Traditional Free-range Christmas Turkeys – the Golden Turkey Quality Assurance standard. We interviewed Becky earlier this year to discover more about life on their mixed livestock farm in Scotland, with their mini farmers too…

How long has your family been in farming and what made you join our association to become a Golden Turkey Farmer?

We took over the family farm in 2015 from Ian’s parents who were 2nd generation farmers.

Ian has been farming all his life and I have only been since I met him 11 years ago. 

We became an accredited Golden Turkey Farmer in 2019 and only started turkey farming in 2018.

Do you produce anything else on your farm besides Golden Turkeys for Christmas?

Our core business is cattle and sheep farming along with growing some barley to feed our cattle in the winter. When we took on the family farm, it was in quite a poor condition. We spent a few years building up our stocks of sheep/cows and added bulling heifers to our stock then selling them with calves at foot. We decided to diversify into turkey farming as we had already erected two poly tunnels in which we lamb our sheep in and thought that they would be ideal for turkeys too. 

Who else do you normally sell Golden Turkeys to?

We pride ourselves in providing an unrivalled customer experience.  Consequently, we made the decision a few years ago to focus solely on farm gate sales, enabling us to maintain a direct link with those enjoying our exceptional products.

What do you do in the first 6 months of the year, when not producing turkeys?

What do you do in the first 6 months of the year, when not producing turkeys?

There doesn’t seem to be a quiet period in our farming year now. January and February we are calving our cows and kept busy with our cattle inside for the winter. April and May we are lambing 600 ewes and getting our barley sown. In June our day old turkey poults arrive and then it’s time to think about making silage and shearing sheep.

Have you won any AWARDS for farming, food or your business?

We won a 2-star Great Taste Award in 2020 for our turkeys. It was amazing to receive such an achievement especially on our first time entering the awards. Hopefully, in 2021 we will achieve more stars.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

I love seeing the turkeys grow up from tiny little things that fit into your hands to big friendly birds. Knowing that they’ve had a very happy life roaming free in our lovely field and in death they are treated with the utmost care and respect, with all processing done on the farm. Then receiving the customer feedback that they never used to like turkey until they tried our turkeys.

What or who, inspires you?

I don’t really have people that inspire me. I am just determined to make a better future for my children by making our business model successful.

What was your first job?

Working in a restaurant in Legoland

What would you be doing, if you weren’t a farmer?

Something to do with the environment, my background is in Marine Biology and Coastal Management.

Tea or Coffee?

Filtered coffee all the way!

Favourite Book or Film?

The classic The Goonies and favourite book The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

Favourite Food?

Dim sum and sushi!

Best way to relax after a stressful day?

Put the children to bed and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Apart from selling direct to customers – who else do you normally sell Golden Turkeys to?

We sell some of our turkeys to a local farm shop and through another local pig producer and we sell their pigs in blankets and bacon through our website.

Which social media platforms do you use for your Christmas Turkey business?

I prefer Instagram as I think it’s more user friendly and the people are nice, but most of my customers locally use Facebook. We also do have a Twitter account but I don’t really use it.

 

How has the Corona Virus Pandemic affected your farm life and business?

Farming has carried on largely unaffected with the day to day running. We did have issues at the start of the pandemic when some abattoirs stopped processing meat so we had to travel further distances to find an open abattoir. There was a lot of uncertainly with the 2020 turkey season as government advise changed frequently as to whether you would be allowed to have people in your house on Christmas Day. This however didn’t deter people from ordering their turkeys in record numbers earlier than normal – and meant that we sold out of turkeys early than the year before!

Are you planning to make changes in the way you promote your Christmas turkeys?

Last year has made us realise that you don’t need to attend lots of local shows/events to sell our turkeys, for the 2021 season we will be attending less events in order to achieve a better family life/ work balance.

Are you planning to offer a nationwide delivery service?

We don’t offer nationwide delivery due to our remote location.

What do you believe has been the most effective way for you to gain new customers?

Word of mouth and having a 2 star Great Taste award has definitely increased our turkey sales.

How have you found the sourcing and management of seasonal workers, for the processing of your Christmas turkeys?

2020 turkey season saw us implement new processes for our slaughter and evisceration of turkeys, along with new staff, which saw our output and quality of finished bird increase dramatically.

With increased interest and importance in best quality meat, higher welfare and environmental responsibility – are you making any changes to your turkey rearing, production and presentation, above and beyond our Golden Turkey Standard?

For the 2021 season we are looking at increasing our social media output to help customers understand why spending more money on your meat products will mean an increase in quality and most importantly of all taste. We are looking into planting a rough area of ground with kale to enhance our turkeys grazing experience and enrichment in their paddock.

Further Details: https://www.ledmacoyturkeys.co.uk/

Facebook: @Ledmacoy Turkeys

Instagram:@Ledmacoy Turkeys

Twitter:@LedmacoyTurkeys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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