Top Turkeys for Christmas

Sam Figgis tells conservation news about how his childhood dream of raising poultry has become a reality

A happy turkey for a Happy Christmas – that’s what keen young farmer Sam Figgis is offering. The 21-year-old is passionate both about animals and about good food, a winning combination for his business Sam’s Turkeys which is based in Hernhill just outside Faversham.

An outdoorsy young man and a fifth generation farmer, it was his childhood dream to raise livestock. As a teenager he kept a couple of turkeys and some pigs at the bottom of the garden, going out to look after them in all weathers while many of his peers were indoors playing computer games. “I asked my mum if I could use an old chicken shed,” Sam recalls.

Leaving St Edmund’s School in Canterbury at 16, he went to agricultural college then travelled the world a bit before being offered an opportunity by a retiring local turkey farmer. Sam had also worked for and learned a lot from renowned KellyBronze Turkeys, which have been endorsed by Delia Smith and Jamie Oliver.

“I like turkeys and wanted to diversify from fruit growing. Actually, I like all animals,” he says, telling of a fascinating ‘conversation’ he recently witnessed between a bunch of turkeys and a pheasant – which you wouldn’t get in an industrial turkey shed!

Sam buys five-week-old bronze turkey poults in June to raise to maturity for Christmas. They are free-range and slow-grown with a longer life than the average supermarket bird, allowing tenderness and flavour to develop. “Welfare of the birds is key,” says Sam. “I know they have a very good life.” They are given freedom to roam over four acres and as well as being fed a traditional natural turkey mix, they are happy to be given a few apples from the farm and the opportunity to forage the ground for other food.

Hand-plucked, hand-prepared and hung for at least 14 days, the birds are guaranteed under the Golden Turkey Quality Assurance scheme as a premium product.

This is Sam’s second full season and his enthusiasm is growing. He hopes to raise 1,000 turkeys next year, and his ambition is for Sam’s Turkeys to become a well-known and trusted brand among people who appreciate what they eat.

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