This year is the 35th anniversary of The Traditional Farm-fresh Turkey Association (TFTA) – more recognised today as Golden Turkey® Farmers. The group of around 40 UK member farmers produce Traditional Christmas turkeys to the TFTA’s Golden Turkey® Quality Assurance Code. Member farmers choose slower growing breeds and rear them to full maturity, free-ranging them for a longer period on their farm’s woodland and paddocks. The turkeys are dry plucked, hand finished and then hung like a game bird for at least seven days to develop a fine rich flavour and succulent meat. Turkeys produced to our independent accreditation are awarded the Golden Turkey® Quality Assurance Guarantee and are sold through independent butchers, farm shops and direct from their farms.
The TFTA was formed in 1984 and has over the years been an important factor in the successful development of premium quality, traditional farm-fresh Christmas turkeys.
The association was set up by a number of turkey farmers – some of the key founders being Derek Kelly, Tom Copas and Henry Bryant (who is currently the President of the TFTA). It was set up to help these seasonal turkey farmers who were struggling to sell their premium birds compared to their larger competitors selling via the supermarkets. As the farmers had limited funds individually, the TFTA was set up as a group to promote their traditional festive turkeys. They also sought to continually develop their traditional small-scale production methods to deliver the very best farm-fresh turkeys for Christmas.
The past 20 years have seen numerous important developments and improvements including; strains of turkey, a longer slow grown period, better free-ranging standards, feed, refrigeration for dry-aged maturation to improved welfare and traditional production methods. These developments form the basis of the Golden Turkey® Farmers Quality Assurance code and guarantee.
In the early days the main issue was clearly differentiating between standard commercially produced turkeys and the TFTA’s traditional, premium and family farm turkeys, as both reared white feathered birds. It was therefore a significant step forward when Kelly’s Turkeys changed to producing bronze feathered birds – this is predominately the colour of choice for most Golden Turkey® Farmers today.
The association (uniquely) developed their own Quality Code around 20 years ago – all Golden Turkey® Farmers are independently audited annually, ensuring high standards for welfare and production, and resulting in superior eating qualities.
The Golden Turkeys® accreditation is generally considered to be the best for traditional Christmas turkeys.
Golden Turkey® Farmers will be highlighting their exceptional Christmas Turkeys by promoting their farms and products from 11th -17th November. They will be encouraging customers to order their Golden Turkey® in time for Christmas. Please look out for and share their social media posts with the hashtag #orderyourgoldenturkey!