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'Farming needs to open door to consumer'

by 5m Editor
6 October 2005, at 12:00am

UK - Agriculture has closed its doors to the ultimate customer - the public - according to Paul Kelly, managing director of Kelly Turkeys and champion of traditional, locally produced food.

'Farming needs to open door to consumer' - UK - Agriculture has closed its doors to the ultimate customer - the public - according to Paul Kelly, managing director of Kelly Turkeys and champion of traditional, locally produced food. Kellys Turkeys

Speaking at an event to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the KellyBronze turkey at Howe Green, Chelmsford, Essex, he said the door was now being opened by those farmers who were proud of their production and methods.

"We now have a generation of people who know little, or in some cases nothing, about farming, food and cooking."

This provided opportunity for local specialist food producers and retailers not competing with cheap commodity food but developing niche markets. He even saw the potential for food markets to become the centre of village and town life where people could meet, eat and drink.

In their own case, he told around 200 customers and guests, what they were doing with the KellyBronze was "simply doing what was done 60 years ago".

"We are passionate about our business," he said. "We love our turkey farming, and we grow our turkeys within the spirit of our customers' expectations. We have nothing to hide."

His father Derek Kelly spoke about the development of the KellyBronze brand over the 21 years since the first bronze turkeys from the family's rare breeds collection brought praise from a local butcher and alerted them to their superior flavour.

"We needed to brand our unique lines, but considered it almost impertinent for a small family farm even to consider such a project," he said. "We thought a brand name was a multi-million pound business - but thank goodness we overcame our coyness and the KellyBronze was born."

Among those who spoke about the family's achievement at the luncheon were Marguerite Patten, doyen of food commentators, celebrity chef Patrick Anthony and proprietor of Essex Pig Company Jimmy Doherty.

The guests had the opportunity to tour the farm and processing plant - and to see the 'celebration flock' of KellyBronze taken from the first hatch of the season and fed on oats to give a creamy finish with a sprinkling of ginseng on top of the ration.


KellyBronze turkeys taking a stroll through the garden with Derek Kelly (left) and his son Paul Kelly during the 21st anniversary celebrations

Source: Kelly's Turkeys - 30th September 2005

5m Editor