Customers seek out bigger turkeys for dinner in the 'Christmas bubble'

James Graham at Peele's Norfolk Black Turkeys in Thuxton. Picture: Matthew Usher

James Graham at Peele's Norfolk Black Turkeys in Thuxton. Picture: Matthew Usher

Turkey farmers said customers are upgrading their orders to bigger birds after this week's announcement of "Christmas bubbles" revived the prospect of a festive family feast.

Norfolk's poultry producers had been expecting to sell smaller birds and more crown and breast joints this year due to the strict restrictions on social gatherings.

But they reported renewed interest in bigger turkeys after the government agreed on Tuesday that three households could form “Christmas bubbles” to allow families to reunite between December 23 and 27.

Some farms are also seeing an increase in trade compared to last year, indicating people's determination to enjoy their festive traditions after a testing year.

Free-range farmer James Graham is the fourth generation of his family to produce Peele’s Norfolk Black Turkeys at Thuxton near Dereham. 

"It has been an interesting week," he said.

"At the beginning of the week we were getting a lot of smaller orders for smaller birds. Now, after this announcement, people are ringing up and contacting us wanting to change from a small one to a large one. That is definitely happening.

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"From a turkey farmer's point of view we cannot fatten the birds any more now, it is too late for that. The birds will be what they will be. But the trade is definitely brisker than last year. I would say it is actually better trade than the last two years.

"I shall definitely sell out of the smaller birds, but I will be able to go into my breeding stock if necessary."

Rob Morton, of Morton’s Traditional Taste in Skeyton near North Walsham, said his orders were higher than last year's - albeit for smaller birds and more breast and crown joints - but he believes people were waiting for today's announcement on the post-lockdown tiers before finalising their Christmas plans.

Rob Morton with his award-winning free-range turkeys in Skeyton, Norfolk. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Rob Morton with his award-winning free-range turkeys in Skeyton - Credit: Archant

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"I think people are still digesting it," he said. "After this week, they will know what there plans are.

"I think once people understand what they can do and who they can have over for dinner they will upgrade to a bigger turkey.

"Maybe they might go from a 1.5kg breast joint and swap it for a whole turkey instead, now that it will be possible to have 10 people around a table when we initially thought you could only have two people.

"The whole bird will be much better value for them and they will get more meals out of it if they have got that bubble altogether for two or three days."

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