The organic Turkey you eat from Rhug Farm, in Denbighshire, this Thanksgiving or Christmas will have been sung to by the local choir to ensure it tastes delicious.
Each year Rhug’s Turkeys listen to Classic FM on the radio every day to ensure a stress-free life but when the staff discovered they can turn the radio down themselves the local choir was brought in to sing to the birds.
It is well known that the less-stressed animal on the farm results in tastier meat on the plate. The scientific basis for the phenomenon is well-established. The key ingredient is lactic acid. In an unstressed animal, after death, muscle glycogen is converted into lactic acid, which helps keep meat tender, pink, and full of flavour. Adrenaline released by stress before slaughter uses up glycogen, which means there’s not enough lactic acid produced. This affects different kinds of meat in different ways, but in general it’ll be tough, tasteless and will go bad quicker than unstressed meat.
Gareth Jones, Rhug Farm Manager and Chairman of Bro Glyndwr Male Voice Choir said, “I was asked by the owner of Rhug Estate, Lord Newborough, if the choir would come and sing to the rafter of 1,000 turkeys. Naturally I thought he was joking until he asked a second, and then a third time! We try to induce as little stress as possible on the animals so I could see the logic of having the choir sing to the birds – eventually! I have to admit I think it did help to keep the birds nice and calm and they seemed to be singing along with us.”
The choir, of which Lord Newborough is the President, is made up of local residents including some members of staff from Rhug. Every Christmas the choir performs in Rhug Chapel and Rhug Estate Bistro for locals to come along and hear them sing. One choir member admitted that singing to the turkeys had to be one of the strangest things he had ever been asked to do!
Rhug Estate organic turkeys and geese enjoy almost seven months living free range on the farm near Corwen, north Wales. Once they have settled in their lodges they can venture out every day onto clover-rich organic pasture, feed on the finest organic oats grown on the farm and enjoy a stress-free life listening to classical music.
Rhug Organic Dee Valley Bronze Turkeys are beautiful black turkeys that have self-basting properties under the skin. Because they are free range, and out every day, the turkeys have texture, flavour and a browner leg meat than birds produced in any other way, they also cook faster than conventional turkeys.
Michelin-starred restaurants including Four Seasons and The Rosewood, in London, feature Rhug organic turkey on their festive menu. Rhug organic turkey and goose meat are also served in Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau.
Lord Newborough, Owner of the Rhug Estate said, “Like all animals on the farm, eliminating stress is an all-important factor. Stress free animals produce the highest quality meat. Rhug staff are able to watch the turkeys grow up through their office window. These turkeys are the Rolls Royce of turkeys. Thanks giving and Christmas are, for many people, the most important meal of the year, our Organic Dee Valley Bronze turkeys are the best money can buy and therefore befitting for these important occasions.”
Celebrity Knightsbridge Chef, Marcus Wareing, has been a loyal customer of the Rhug Estate for many years and every year offers his restaurant customers Rhug turkey and goose. He said, “Christmas lunch is one of the most important meals of the year, at the restaurant and at home, I always want a Rhug Organic Goose and Turkey.”
As well as the singing Rhug farm has a few other strange methods it uses on its Turkeys. Gareth Williams, Head Poultry Farmer actually herds the rafter of turkeys into their shed every night using a sheep dog and they don’t seem to mind at all!
The Rhug Estate has more than 1,000 turkeys, 300 geese, Aberdeen Angus cattle, Bison, Japanese Sika Deer and over 3,000 sheep.
Anyone wanting to order an organic turkey or goose from Rhug Estate can order from the butcher’s counter in the Farm Shop or online: www.rhug.co.uk. Restaurants and hotels can speak directly to the Wholesale Team about their specific requirements and delivery dates as the Rhug deliver to London and abroad throughout the week. Tel: 01490 413000 or Email: [email protected]