Traditional turkey production in a modern world

UK - Paul Kelly and his family have been perfecting the art of rearing flawless turkeys for nearly half a century and have become a household name for producing high quality turkeys for the Christmas season
calendar icon 30 August 2018
clock icon 4 minute read

Consequently, the KellyBronze brand has become synonymous with British turkey excellence, loved by celebrity chefs and the British public alike.

From 1971, determined to break away from intensive turkey production and to resurrect traditional methods of farming free range meat, turkey farmer Derek Kelly (Paul Kelly’s father) and his wife Mollie commenced their pursuit in growing Christmas turkeys. By 1983, the pair sought out and bought the last remaining Bronze turkeys in the country and, undeterred by the extraordinary lengths required to produce outstanding turkey meat, they spearheaded an innovative and unique breeding programme. Together, Derek and his son Paul hand selected the best of the birds and the first KellyBronze turkeys were hatched.

KellyBronze birds are entirely free range and have the luxury of living through every season, foraging in their natural woodland habitat at the family farm in Danbury, Essex. They are matured to over twice the age of a standard industry turkey, doubling the farming costs but, according to KellyBronze, quadrupling the flavour. Going against the norm, KellyBronze birds are plucked by hand - a method of preparation dating back to medieval times. This enables them to be dry hung, tenderising the meat and intensifying the taste.

Paul Kelly’s pioneering spirit has been the driving force behind the ongoing success of KellyBronze. The go-to guy for all things turkey and poultry, Paul serves on numerous boards including the British Poultry Council. He has also appeared on multiple TV programmes including Channel 4’s ‘A Year on the Farm’ and is even the reigning Guinness World Record holder for the fastest carving of a turkey.
The business has won many awards over the years and in 2011, the KellyBronze became the first turkey to receive three gold stars in the Great Taste Awards. They also achieved the celebrity seal of approval with names such as Delia Smith, Nigella Lawson and Gordon Ramsay backing the bronze, and Jamie Oliver championing the ‘Kelly way of carving’.

In 2014, KellyBronze spread their wings to the United States and acquired a farm at the foot of the Blueridge Mountains in Virginia to rear their unique turkeys for the US market. Today, they are proud to be the only farm in the USA with a USDA license to hand pluck their turkeys.

Paul Kelly, Managing Director of KellyBronze said: “It takes time, passion and a walk on the wild side to create excellence - if it was easy, everyone would do it, but I am very proud of how far our family business has come. I’m looking forward to taking things to the next level this Christmas and educating the public on what truly is a fantastic and sometimes underrated meat.”

With an equal focus on welfare and flavour, KellyBronze has captured the attention of both the public, media and the turkey farming industry.

As reported by KellyBronze

Ryan Johnson

Editor at The Poultry Site

Ryan worked in conservation from 2008 to 2017, during which time he operated a rainbow trout hatchery and helped to maintain public and protected green spaces in Canada for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. As editor of The Poultry Site, he now writes about challenges and opportunities in agriculture across the globe.

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