Tell us about Crowe’s Farm.
“It’s very much a family concern, run by my three brothers, Eamonn, TJ and Patrick, and me. We’re continuing a strong tradition of responsible farming, which was started by our great grandfather and has been passed down through the generations. We also act as a packing and processing business now, which means we offer farm-to-fork solutions.”
You’re renowned for your succulent Bronze turkeys. Have you always farmed these birds?
“No. We used to get customers coming in to ask if we produced turkeys. It became clear that the demand was there, so in 2009 we took the opportunity and reared 150 birds. Now we rear 7,000 each year.”
What’s special about the Bronze turkey breed?
“The Bronze turkey is a traditional and slow-growing breed of turkey that’s most closely related to the South American wild turkey. The name refers to its plumage, which bears a lovely bronze-like sheen – this is particularly evident in the sunlight.”
Your turkeys are raised outdoors. Do they start off in the fields as chicks? And what are the benefits of such farming methods?
“We buy the birds as day-old chicks in June, and from five to six weeks old (after brooding periods) they are left outdoors to roam freely and forage on lovely herbs and rich grasslands until December. Our rearing process is a lot longer than that of the average commercial turkey, and over this six-month period the meat has time to develop a superb texture and depth of flavour. Because our birds can grow at their own pace they develop a lot of intermuscular fat and they actually cook quicker than other turkeys.”
You’ve supplied Spinneys with organic turkeys for four years. And this year you’ll also supply crowns – what’s the difference?
"Crowns [just the breast meat of the turkey with no wings, or legs] are obviously smaller, and cooking them is a lot quicker than whole birds. It really comes down to personal preference."
What’s your family’s secret to the perfect cooked turkey?
“We love our turkey, and Christmas Day is a great family occasion for us. Our favourite way of cooking it is to place the bird breast-side down in a roasting tray with 500ml water (and a sprinkling of sea salt and cracked black pepper, with vegetables scattered around) and then turn it breast-side up for the last half hour of cooking.”