Michaelmas Geese Thriving on Washout August

UK - The wet August may have been a washout for British holidaymakers - but it has been a big hit with geese on the farm.
calendar icon 12 September 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Geese enjoying a washout August

Some regions have had three times the average rainfall - and less than half the average sunshine - for the month. Yet geese being reared for Michaelmas or Christmas have enjoyed the extra growth of grass and the opportunity to splash around in the wet.

Judy Goodman, chairman of British Goose Producers, who produces around 100 geese in Worcestershire for the traditional Michaelmas market and nearly 4000 geese for Christmas, says her geese have enjoyed the conditions during August. "There's certainly been no question of the geese suffering heat stress this summer," she comments.

Like other goose producers around the country, she has found a growing demand for Michaelmas - the traditional quarter day (September 29, except Suffolk October 4 and Norfolk October 11). There are many customs associated with Michaelmas - not least the habit of tenant farmers providing their landlord with a goose in the hope of avoiding a rent rise in the year ahead.

Judy Goodman will again be promoting geese at the Autumn Garden Show at Malvern during the weekend ahead of Michaelmas.

Around the country more restaurants are seeing the potential for promoting Michaelmas geese on the menu. Most appropriately, the Gaggle of Geese pub at Buckland Newton, Dorchester, Dorset, will be featuring goose, supplied by local farmer Michael Coleman, of Milton Abbas, who is rearing 60 for Michaelmas and more than 500 for Christmas.

Emily Hammick, who runs the pub with her husband Mark, says they are also planning to serve goose during the autumn: "We slow roast the legs to make a confit, then flash cook the breast to serve it pink," she adds. "Goose does terribly well this way." The potatoes will come roasted in goose fat - of course! - and a salad of pan-fried goose livers served as a starter.

The Michaelmas tradition is being revived in London, too. Last year the prestigious Goring Hotel in London's Belgravia district introduced a gourmet goose dinner on Michaelmas day. This is being repeated this year with goose also on the menu for a whole week afterwards.

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