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 Friday, 6 December, 2002, 12:48 GMT
High Street deal for organic turkeys
Justin Scale
Mr Scale has reaped the rewards of organic farming

A Pembrokeshire poultry farmer who turned organic after six generations of being in business has landed a turkey deal with Marks and Spencer this Christmas.

Faced with the prospect of his farm folding, Justin Scale has managed to turn his ailing fortunes around and reap the rewards of successful organic farming.

Now he is having to get used to the fame of being personally promoted on customer order leaflets at M&S stores throughout the UK.

"I'm not sure whether it's on the bag as well," said Mr Scale, who runs Capestone Farm, near Milford Haven.

Nobody wanted what we were growing and we needed to find something else

Justin Scale, farmer

The public's confidence in chemical-free food and the growth in supermarket organic produce has seen his new venture blossom.

The change in farming practice happened after a wait of two years to rid his land of chemicals and a trial project with the supermarket chain.

"We were growing cereals, the price changed and the quality wasn't good because of the year," said Mr Scale.

"Nobody wanted what we were growing and we needed to find something else," he said.

"The wait was a risk but, it was quite character-building, both for the farmer and for the bank."

Organic lifeline

Now he is encouraging other farmers to think organic.

The job is still hard and he still has to put in seven days' work but, for Mr Scale, the alternative does not bear thinking about.

He says he would not be in farming if he had not grabbed the organic lifeline.

We are having a goose for Christmas

Justin Scale

The changes to organic farming mean the birds, which were killed at 40 days old, are not kept inside in high temperatures.

Instead the organic birds are slaughtered at 70 to 81 days, ensuring more flavour, and as soon as they are fully-feathered they are put out on the range.

"The birds are not cheap, but they are not expensive," said Mr Scale,.

As for Christmas dinner, Mr Scale does not envisage one of his turkeys ending up on his table.

"We are having a goose for Christmas.

"If you have been working with turkeys for a couple of months it's nice to have a goose," he added.

Turkeys are priced from 35, which would feed around nine people, to 52.

Orders are being taken up to December 12 and the last delivery date is Christmas Eve.


More from south west Wales
See also:

05 Nov 02 | Business
13 Apr 98 | Business
22 Aug 02 | Politics
24 Dec 98 | Christmas and New Year
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