Sladesdown Farm in Landscove produces free-range and barn-reared turkeys, as well as other meat for Christmas and all year round
Sladesdown Farm in Landscove, near Ashburton, farms turkeys, free-range chickens and free-range ducks, pigs and pedigree Ruby Devon cattle. At this time of year, owners Daniel and Elaine Mason’s turkeys are very popular. “We have been farming turkeys for about eight years. We have ‘Kelly’ turkeys (bronze and white) for their succulent taste and rear some of them free range in the field (with fox-proof fencing) and the rest are barn reared. We produce 1,500 turkeys for the Christmas trade, which arrive with us as day-old poults in May,” Daniel says.
“Daniel and I were both brought up in farming families. We started rearing turkeys solely for the Christmas period but business went from strength to strength and we now produce turkeys all year round,” says Elaine.
Sladesdown’s poultry is grown on natural feed with no added growth stimulants or antibiotics. “With modern facilities on the farm, all our poultry is processed according to veterinary regulations,” says Daniel. With no preservatives or artificial basting ingredients added, Sladesdown Farm Poultry is oven-ready.
The bronze free-range turkeys are reared on Sladesdown pastures and the white barn-reared turkeys enjoy a spacious shed and a roof over their heads. The birds are dry-plucked and hung for at least 14 days to mature and give them maximum flavour. Then they are prepared for the oven and boxed ready for collection, with full cooking instructions. Daniel says. “We sell our poultry to local butchers, farm shops and the general public and mail order them further afield,” he adds.
Daniel and Elaine recently started rearing free-range chickens known as Hubbards. The British Hubbard bird is known for its slow-growing and tender-eating qualities. “We rear the chicks from day-olds through to slaughter, which is between nine and ten weeks of age. The birds are hung for a minimum of five days to ensure a full flavour is achieved. They enjoy the freedom of the countryside and have a coup for shelter,” explains Elaine.
“We have also started rearing ducks and we are currently supplying local butchers, farms, shops and restaurants as well as the general public. The ducks are reared until they are eight or twelve weeks old on our pastures alongside the cattle,” she adds.
“Beef from Devon Ruby Red cattle is also produced on our farm,” says Elaine.”Our meat is hung for a minimum of three weeks, reducing the water content and producing its dark colour. This, along with its marbling, produces the full flavour and tenderness.”
With so much fresh produce on offer, Daniel and Elaine also provide a catering service (including waitressing) for wedding receptions, BBQs, business meetings or any special event.
When asked how they will spend Christmas, Daniel says: “With the family. We tend to have turkey and enjoy the tender meat after working so hard – although we may have our own beef if we have sold out of turkeys.”
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