This month we feature Crozier’s. Many of you will have tasted their fantastic turkeys but for any who are perhaps a little hesitant to try their hand at a whole bird for the Christmas season, we hope to give you a bit more confidence to give it a go.
Crozier’s started way back in 1959, when 12-year-old Philip Crozier took his pocket money savings and bought a pair of hen turkeys and one male turkey (known as a gobbler) with the intention of starting his turkey empire. He went on to create a thriving farm and business on his 32-hectare turkey farm based in Dromore, close to Ashburton, which he built up over 50 years. In 2015, the Crozier’s handed over the reigns to the next generation of family farmers – the Smith Family, Kyle and Monique along with their two young daughters, Isla and Ruby. Kyle has many years’ experience in the management of Turkey Farming.
The beautiful landscapes of Mid Canterbury are not the only features of their farm – the more than 20,000 white-feathered turkeys certainly grab some attention too!
The turkeys are free to range outside so they have access to natural food, they are fed a mix of grains, some of which are grown right there on the farm itself. They use traditional crop rotation methods that keep the land at its best. The colder winter weather kills off pests and disease naturally and, being a smaller operation, they can keep a good close eye on each turkey and its wellbeing.
Natural light, sunshine and being exposed to nature itself are all key to creating the perfect turkey. Having room to run about, scratch and peck mean they don’t suffer the same stresses from being cooped up in barns, but when it rains, they are able to shelter inside.
From October each year, the eggs are gathered from the breeding hens that go to the incubator for about 28 days. By November right through to February eggs go back to the hatchery where the poults (baby turkeys) are hatched and stay until they are about 5½ weeks old. They spend a brief time in the rearing sheds before being released into the outside world of the farm.
Turkeys up to 12 weeks old are gathered for processing over the summer months, and their feathers go to compost. To keep things traditional neck and giblets are retained and you’ll find those inside each bird should you wish to use them for gravy.
Once the birds have been plucked and cleaned, they are dipped in ozonated water to chill and sterilise them. This is one process Crozier’s takes very seriously. Ozonated water in place of chlorinated water means no chemical residue on your food. This means also there is no whitening of the skin, as occurs with bleaching, so Crozier’s birds have more yellow, naturally coloured skin due to their free-range lifestyle and diet. Pop-up timers are inserted for birds size 4 and up, and the legs are tied in such a way that the drumsticks are kept moister during the cooking process.
Another key point to Crozier’s turkeys is they do not inject any oil at all into their birds. ‘Self-basting’ can be simply an injection of oil into or onto the bird, which some feel is a technique to keep the bird moist during cooking. This technique is not employed at Crozier’s.
Careful raising and processing are all-important and we know this has a great effect on our Christmas turkey!
In-store over December, you’ll find our Christmas recipe cards with all the information you’ll need on how to cook the perfect turkey this Christmas. Pop in and have a chat with our team about your options.
Along with Crozier’s turkeys, you’ll also find our turkey roasts, which are no-fuss, no-waste and super-easy to cook… so something for everyone!