Farmer Campaigns for the Return of Christmas Goose

UK - An Oxfordshire goose farmer is spearheading the Chrismas comeback of a very traditional meal.
calendar icon 20 October 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

Oxford Mail reports that this year, Bill Homewood, will fatten 2,500 geese for dining tables across the land.

And, last Thursday, the nation’s goose farmers descended on his farm for their annual-pre-Christmas meeting, to discuss the state of the industry.

For hundreds of years until the 1950s, roast goose was served on dining tables across the land every Christmas. But within 30 years, turkeys had gobbled almost the entire market.

When Mr Homewood's mother, Nancy, decided she was bored of Christmas turkey in 1978, her butcher was able to find only three geese on sale at her local poultry market in Birmingham.

She said: "The next year, I found a breeder down in Dorset and went to collect 30 geese. He threw a lame one in extra, so we had a flock of 31.

"The following year, we had 100, and sold them to butchers all around the area."

Now, 30 years after starting production, the family's 700-acre Peach Croft Farm, Abingdon, sees thousands of people queueing on the weekend before Christmas to collect their birds.

Endorsements from TV chefs including Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay means goose is now eaten by up to half a million families each year.

Mr Homewood took over farming the land from his father, John, a decade ago. He said: "Many people tell us that collecting their goose is the start of Christmas for them.

"It is something special to have when people decide to treat themselves once a year.

"It's a lovely, rich meat that’s good eaten hot or cold. It is quite special," Mr Homewood told Oxford Mail.

Judy Goodman of the British Poultry Council said the market for goose continued to grow as people searched for a niche product for a special occasion.

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