From shaky times to celebrity approval, the Kelly family have been breeding turkeys for over 30 years, and their trademark KellyBronze bird is the perfect showstopper for any Christmas dinner.In 1971, Derek Kelly set out to breed white turkeys that were superior in flavour. A short 8 years later, the Kelly turkeys became award winners for their quality and flavour. However, when supermarkets began to sell the birds more cost-effectively, the turkey breeding market changed. Kelly continued his dream through those hard times, and in 1984 the Kelly family decided to differentiate themselves within the turkey market thanks to an idea from son Paul.
Don't be afraid, it's just a big chicken!
Lover of rare breeds, Paul Kelly had studied poultry science and concluded that they should begin breeding the Bronze turkey, which had seen a decline in numbers. The breed faced extinction in the 1950s due to being replaced by white breeds that were faster to grow and had light feathers which didn't leave a black quill after being plucked, a feature that has become a staple of the KellyBronze birds. So Kelly began buying up the remaining birds and set out again to establish a purebred turkey farm.
Derek Kelly 1971
Many thought they were mad, but the family persevered in growing the business until 1989 when a visit from Delia Smith ignited her love for the breed, broadcasting to the nation the quality of the bird. KellyBronze turkeys are completely free range and grown to the equivalent of adulthood. This allows the breed to grow a natural layer of fat and a mature carcass, which in turn makes the bird far easier to cook and gives it the flavour it is known for. The breed has also been widely endorsed by Jamie Oliver who states that "KellyBronze turkeys are the best of the best."
With the flock 1989
Paul Kelly with Jamie Oliver 2004
The Kelly family is one that springs back from difficult times, especially in 2015 when a fire destroyed a large section of their farm. Only 18 weeks later the farm was back in working order again, just in time for Christmas. The Christmas season is understandably one of the busiest times in the turkey business and in 2016 the family bred the KBXS - the smallest breed of turkey in the world - that is perfect for a small scale Christmas without having to lose the traditional bird from the dinner table.
2017 marks the year that the Kelly family secured their Federal USDA License and are now able to sell their famous birds across the pond. The same rearing and preperation techniques as in the UK are used in the USA to ensure the same great quality is produced in both countries.
KellyBronze turkeys are completely free range and grown to the equivalent of adulthood.
KellyBronze invest time into breeding the birds and readying them for the table. Tasks such as hand plucking, hanging and the long rearing process are not the cheapest ways of breeding turkey, but this makes little difference for the Kelly family. They are concerned most about the welfare and quality of their product, which is evident in the superior texture and flavour of the unique KellyBronze bird and confirmed by their winning the Great Taste Gold Award in 2011. We choose to stock KellyBronze turkeys in our Food Hall over the Christmas period as we - like many others - believe them to be superior in quality and flavour.
You can order your KellyBronze turkey, and any other item available in our Food Hall, in time for Christmas by contacting our in-store team direct on 01796 484946. Last dates for Christmas delivery are 21st December, next day delivery on perishable items is standard, KellyBronze turkeys are charged by weight which differs per bird, closest weight to that requested will be supplied.