A family collaboration between a North Yorkshire based herb producer and their poultry farming nephew is producing chickens with a delicious twist!
London surveyor turned farmer, Edward Wilkinson, from Pilmoor near York, turned his back on the big smoke to return to his rural roots and set up Herb Fed Poultry, producing free range birds fed predominantly on herbs grown locally by his aunt Alison Dodd, founder of Herbs Unlimited.
In a quest to produce the best poultry and further improve both the bird’s quality of life, and ultimately their taste, Edward adapted their diet to introduce fresh herbs with the simple aim – to produce “a bird with taste” and offer something different to the market.
Edward said: “Consumers are becoming a lot more conscious of what they eat and where it’s come from, and rightly so! We pride ourselves on provenance and delivering high quality, fully traceable poultry to our customers.”
Now the business, which started out producing just 100 turkeys for the festive season produces nearly 3000 chickens per week with further expansion plans afoot for the year ahead.
“The feedback on our turkeys was great and it gave us the confidence to expand and move into different areas and our chickens are now delivered to butchers across the country. Despite our expansion, we’re still passionate about hand rearing the birds in the same way and giving the same care and attention to their welfare.
“The chickens are reared to 8 weeks old and eat up to a tonne of fresh herbs each week which are collected by the team from Herbs Unlimited in Thirsk.
“Their absolute favorite is rocket, or when the odd chili arrives there’s always a fight! Like our Herb Fed turkeys the only herb they don’t like is sage. We are proud of what we produce and to be the only producers in the country feeding our poultry on this diet.” continues Edward.
Pecking through the herbs keeps the chickens occupied resulting in happy and extremely healthy birds, while the herbs themselves provide additional nutrients to their diet on top of the additive free cereal based feed they get from a local mill.
The business already has some celebrity fans with Janet Street-Porter and Richard Turner, chief exec chef of the Hawksmoor Restaurant both regular customers, while Tom Parker Bowles described Herb Fed Turkeys as ‘mighty cluckers’.
Perfect for an Easter lunch, Herb Fed Poultry’s chickens are available through independent butchers and food retailers nationwide or can be bought direct from the farm at www.herbfedpoultry.co.uk.