Sales boom at Sheffield turkey farm amid warnings Christmas could be cancelled due to carbon dioxide and staff shortages
A Sheffield turkey firm has had a rush of orders after warnings Christmas could be cancelled due to a shortage of carbon dioxide.
Andrew Clark, of Hangram Lane Farm at Ringinglow, is predicting all 1,000 birds will go after the season started with 50 sales over the weekend - three weeks earlier than usual.
Carbon dioxide is used by larger producers to knock out birds before slaughter and to extend their shelf life in refrigerators, which also require the gas.
UK supply has been hit following the closure of two fertiliser plants due to a sharp rise in natural gas prices - prompting fears among large turkey producers that Christmas will be cancelled.
But Hangram Lane Farm does not use carbon dioxide and can guarantee supply, Mr Clark said. The birds are electrically stunned and, after slaughter, sold fresh from the farm.
He said: “For us it is going to be brilliant. We’ve taken quite a few orders already, which is not normally until three weeks’ time.
“Last year our poultry sales were amazing because people couldn’t go away at the last minute and we are going to run out again - although there are plenty of things that can go wrong, like bird flu.”
Turkeys cost up to £60 but they were a ‘premium product’, he added, due to being 25-28 weeks old at slaughter - compared to less than half that in some supermarkets - and therefore tastier.
Customers also appreciated the welfare standards and low food miles.
The family worked 18-hour days at Christmas processing turkeys, as well as feeding their cows and sheep, and ‘deserved a fair price’ for them, he added. The birds comprise 30 per cent of the farm’s annual income.
Large producers are also being forced to cut production because of a lack of staff due to Brexit and Covid. But son Matthew, aged 21, had plenty of friends who would fill up to eight temporary vacancies, Mr Clark said.
The farm is famous for its turkey modelled from a large hay bale on Ringinglow Road. It also has a farm shop.
Business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, had meetings on Saturday with major energy suppliers over gas price rises. He said on Twitter there is no “cause for immediate concern” over the supply of gas in the UK.