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31 August 2012

Farm Fresh & Free Range: Morton's Traditional Taste

Photo: © Morton's Traditional Taste

At Whitwell hall farms you are guaranteed a turkey that is reared to the highest welfare standards with a true "traditional taste" to savour. The Morton family first descended on Norfolk back in 1941 when "Papa" Morton came down from Scotland to establish a dairy herd.

Rob Morton (a 3rd generation Morton) with the help of his wife Becca and (a little helping hand! from there three young children George, Sam and Emily) has been rearing traditional farm-fresh turkeys for the past 10 years. The aim is not to be the biggest supplier (rearing up to 1000 birds) but more to offer customers a true free range bird that is produced in the time honoured tradition.

So what makes a Morton’s turkey different to the one from your local supermarket? Only the best quality chicks make it to Morton’s, where they are given a growing period nine weeks longer than an intensively reared turkey. They are fed on a cereal diet containing no growth promoters or additives, and housed in sheds on clean straw with 24 hour access to range in large paddocks. Morton’s only rear a small number of birds each year, which means they can keep a close eye on them as well as enabling the birds to roam free as they wish. To develop the traditional depth of flavour, the meat is also matured for a minimum of ten days in the cold stores.

The welfare of the turkeys is high priority for Morton’s as they understand that by providing the best possible environment for the birds they can supply a superior product as well as giving customers a clear conscience.
People want to know how their food is produced and the Morton’s website has a lot of information with pictures of how the turkeys live so they can see that they have a happy healthy life.

Rearing different breeds – Bronze and Norfolk Black turkeys – means that Morton’s can offer their customers a range of sizes from 4.5kg up to 11.5kg. The Bronze are the bigger birds and choice of breed is a matter of taste.
The Bronze has a fuller, rounded breast, while the Norfolk Black has a longer narrower breast and a more gamey flavour. Although the Bronze is the most popular choice, the Norfolk Black has a strong following amongst those who appreciate its fuller flavour and who like to support the traditional breed.

After bringing the day-old turkey chicks – called poults – from an Essex farm in June, they spend the following months enjoying the outdoor life on Rob’s family farm in Skeyton. They are eventually prepared on the farm, which avoids the stress of live transportation.

The Smokehouse
At “The Smokehouse” Morton's aim to offer a range of smoked products that are second to none, having spent years perfecting their free range poultry products they have now turned their attention into developing some award winning smoked products.

Using time-honoured traditions and combining the finest meats, cures, smoke and enthusiasm to deliver superb products from the family farm in Norfolk.

So why not try some of their smoked chicken or duck breast, traditionally cured with molasses and gently smoked over whisky infused oak chippings to create a light delicate flavour that is true to the taste.

For more about Morton's Traditional Taste visit their page on 
The Artisan Food Trail here

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