Treat yourself to a Treway Farm Turkey

With Christmas creeping up, we thought it time to introduce you to the lovely Kate Martin who, with husband Will, runs Treway Farm in Coombe and who this year will be supplying deliciously juicy golden turkeys and free range geese to the Great Cornish Food Store.  Here, Kate explains how they rear the birds on the farm and why buying their turkeys will guarantee the best taste and textures this Christmas.

GCFS: Kate, are you from a farming family?

Kate: Not a farming family as such, but I am a country girl. I was brought up in Buckinghamshire and enjoyed riding horses growing up. My farming credentials began 10 years ago when I met Will and moved to Cornwall. Will’s Cornish born and bred, and grew up here. From an early age he’d always wanted to live and work on a farm. Both his uncles are farmers so I guess it’s in the genes.

When we first moved to Treway Farm, there was no house here – just farm buildings and land. We had to convert one of the barns into our own home, and we’ve also converted another into a holiday cottage to help with the income.

GCFS: When did you start rearing turkeys?

Kate: In 2016 we decided to diversify a little and try turkeys and geese alongside rearing our herd of native breeds of beef. Call us crazy, but we bought 200 day-old chicks that June and wondered if we’d ever sell them by Christmas. We did, I’m pleased to say, and all through direct sales to customers, and our numbers have grown ever since.  This year, we’re rearing 1,100 golden turkeys, as well as 75 free range geese.

GCFS: Do the turkeys take much looking after?

Kate: They’re great fun to have around. They’re very jolly, inquisitive birds – following us and the children around when we go into the field, and they’re constantly chatting away! They really want to be with us. At night we keep them safe in the barn, which is where they’re fed, but every day they are free to roam in our fields.

GCFS: Why are your turkeys so good?

Kate: There are a number of differences between turkeys like ours, which are grown to Golden Turkey Association standards, and others you might come across. First of all, our turkeys are free range and produced to traditional standards. They are allowed to grow to full maturity – which means at least 26 weeks. This allows them to develop their full skeletal and muscle structure, as well as giving them time to lay down some fat – and this is what makes turkeys tasty, as well as nice and juicy.

Our turkeys are also dry-plucked and hand finished, and they’re hung for 7-14 days. This makes all the difference because that time enables the meat to firm up and the flavours to mature, so you don’t get the crumbling texture. It also makes the meat much denser, which means it takes far less time to cook.  No more early starts on Christmas morning!

GCFS: How do you recommend cooking a Christmas turkey?

Kate: Our turkeys are presented oven ready in beautiful Treway Farm boxes complete with cooking instructions and a pop up timer. Hopefully, this gives people the confidence not to overcook them! As I said, a well looked after, mature, free range turkey really doesn’t take long in the oven – it’s important to retain all the flavoursome juices.

GCFS: What do you like to make with your left overs?

Kate: Turkey is a really versatile meat – and I always encourage my customers to go a bit bigger when buying their Christmas turkey so that they can enjoy lots of different dishes. I’d thoroughly recommend turkey enchiladas – as would my children – as well as turkey pie. Who doesn’t love a turkey pie?!

GCFS: How has your business fared during the lock down?

Kate: Not too badly, to be honest, compared to other businesses, although we lost all our restaurant trade at the beginning of the season. Any turkeys that we don’t sell fresh at Christmas get frozen and sold at Easter time. This year obviously wasn’t the same as in previous years. But we’re still here; being out there talking to customers, and selling directly has probably been our saving grace.

GCFS: How do you view the Cornish Food & Drink scene?

Kate: I consider myself very lucky to live in Cornwall. There is a very healthy following of people who want to support Cornish businesses and buy local. And not only that, they really like to hear the whole back story of where their food comes from. They get quite involved.  I’ve noticed that particularly on Instagram and it’s really lovely to feel that strong bond.

GCFS: Do you ever get time to leave the farm?

Kate: Yes occasionally! I sell beef at the Truro Farmer’s Market once a week year round and in previous years I’ve attended various local Christmas markets. This year is of course different which is why I’m really happy to be selling our turkeys and geese at the Great Cornish Food Store. We’re amongst great company! Other than that, I enjoy getting out to the coast with Will and the children for a blustery walk followed by some local nosh. St Agnes often gets our vote, as does Porthcurnick and the Hidden Hut.

Order you meat and poultry, as well as your full Christmas dinner, from the Great Cornish Food Store by Friday 11th December.