KellyBronze celebrates 30th birthday

KellyBronze has turned 30, and celebrated with a birthday bash on the farm in Essex.

Guests were invited for a walk in the woods among the Kelly family’s free-range turkeys, before heading back to the farmhouse to celebrate the milestone.

Paul Kelly said: “It’s our 30th year, we do like to have a party and we’ve got colleagues, friends, family, customers – everyone who’s been with us on the journey to have a get-together in the woods, and a turkey lunch later of course.”

Derek Kelly and son Paul made presentations at the event, outlining the business’ history and the challenges it has had to overcome. Guests were told how butchers were initially hesitant to stock the bronze birds, due to the black stubs left in the flesh, and how it took a number of years before they were appreciated.

Paul Kelly told meatinfo: “The past 30 years were fantastic in hindsight, but in those early years we didn’t really have any money, it was really tough and a lot of the time we thought ‘are we doing the right thing?’. If I’d have known 30 years ago that we’d be where we are today, it would have made that journey a lot nicer.

“We went around the country and bought the last remaining flocks of pure bronze turkeys and brought them back here and put them all together to get a really good genetic base. It was against the tide at the time – everyone was about white turkeys. We wanted to bring the old tradition back in – of course they are free range, and then we’d dry-pluck them all by hand and hang them like you would a pheasant; a turkey’s a game bird and it should be hung.”

There has been investment in the breeding programme and overall business in recent years, with a major reconstruction of the processing plant at Howe Green taking place last year. The company now has a farm in Virginia, USA, and has a KellyBronze Farmers franchise scheme in the UK, where consumers can get KellyBronze turkeys from suppliers around the country. Kelly’s also has partners in Germany – Freiland Puten Fahrenzhausen supplies delis and butchers in Germany and Austria and has won numerous awards.

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