What makes Crozier's Turkeys different from mass-produced and barn-raised turkeys?
Flavour in poultry is linked to lifestyle, diet and processing.
Birds raised outside are exposed to natural light and sunshine. This is important for their health and well-being which in turn contributes to flavour. They have room to exercise and don't suffer the stresses of being cooped up inside barns or sheds. In the event of rain, Philip rounds them all up and leads them to shelter, not always an easy job as turkeys aren't the brightest of birds.
The birds are free to forage for food such as grubs, bugs and grass seeds. Combined with a supply of natural grains, this makes Crozier's Turkeys more flavourful than those force-fed a selected grain-only diet.
Many large commercial operations use techniques to improve the appearance and cooking performance of their turkeys. These can have a detrimental effect on turkey flavour. The Croziers do not use any of these techniques and yet their turkeys perform exceptionally well when cooked.
The Croziers do not dip their turkeys into a chlorine wash. This procedure is used by some operations to kill bacteria and to whiten (bleach) the colour of the turkey skin. Crozier turkeys have a natural yellowing of the skin, due largely to their free-range lifestyle in the sun and in part to their diet which includes natural corn.
The Croziers do not inject oil into their turkeys. Birds that are described as "self-basting" by some manufacturers have had an oily solution injected over the surface of the breast meat or sometimes, over the entire bird. Although this helps keep breast meat moist during cooking, it is yet another alteration to the natural flavour of the bird.
The quality of the finished product is due not only to farming methods but also to handling. Careful handling results in a better turkey. Commercial processing involves large-scale methods where machinery does a lot of the work and can often cause damage to the skin and flesh. Crozier's Turkeys are not only hand-reared but also hand-processed.