FOR FOUR GENERATIONS my family has been rearing the Norfolk Black turkey, a breed that my grandfather saved from extinction in the 1950s. The Norfolk Black originated in South America and was introduced to Europe by the Spanish explorer Pedro Nino around 1500. It has striking jet-black plummage, but the Norfolk Black is most celebrated for its finely-textured meat which has a slightly gamey flavour.
We allow our turkeys to mate naturally and all our poults are reared outside and allowed to mature slowly. The rations we feed are mixed on our farm using our own home-grown wheat, barley, oats and beans and whole corn is fed to add a ‘bloom’ to the finished birds. All our turkeys are free range, additive and antibiotic free and are reared on organic meadowland.
To enhance these traditional rearing methods we hand pluck and hang our birds for at least a week, and every turkey is prepared for your table by hand. An average oven-ready weight of 10-12lbs (hens) and 18-21lbs (stags) is normal for the Norfolk Black turkey. To help offer a larger range of weights we also breed the Cambridge Bronze Turkey and in conjunction with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust we are also rearing the Bourbon Red, Lavender and Narrangansett breeds.
Peele’s Norfolk Black Turkeys is a Rick Stein Food Hero and was featured in his first BBC TV series. We are also featured in Delia Smith’s Delia’s Happy Christmas, listed as one of her faithful suppliers.
Edwin and Emma Peele move from Long Sutton, Lincolnshire.
The family re-locate to Stanfield Hall Farm near Wymondham, Norfolk. The two eldest sons, Ernest Edwin Peele (1864) and John George Peele(1865) run the farm and continue the turkey business known as Peele’s Norfolk Turkeys.
Stumpers at Stanfield Hall Farm. Transport by horse and wagon, wicker baskets with rough plucked birds.
1912 Frank Peele aged 12 grading turkeys.
1913 Steam transport first used for consignment of turkeys to London.
1920’s, Kathleen, Muriel & Mary driving turkeys at Morley Manor
Attleborough station with Mr Forder, droving turkeys from Leys Farm for Ernest Peele.
Frank and Gertrude Peele move to Rookery Farm Thuxton.
The Norfolk Black Turkey Club begins, Frank Peele as the founding member.
The War years, turkeys reared outside, fed using old Morris car.
Demand for cheap meat and quick growing white turkeys begin to dominate poultry sales. Frank Peele still favours the Norfolk Black Turkey and breeding programme to save the birds from extinction and is a founder member of the British Turkey Federation.
British Turkey Federation formed.
Frank Peele becomes President of the Norfolk branch of the British Turkey Federation.
Peele’s Norfolk Black Turkeys win two Silver Medals at the British Oil and Cake Mills Turkey Breeding Trials.
Frank Peele wins Challenge Cup at National Poultry Show held at Olympia London.
Frank Peele passes away. Gertrude and Paddy continue his legacy.
James Edwin Peele Graham, 4th generation continues the family business and expands breeding programme alongside other rare breeds of turkeys.
Rare Breed Survival Trust membership featured in the Guardian Newspaper.
Re-enactment of Turkey Droving through Attleborough, 60years on after Ernest Peele’s time
Featured in Poultry World.
Featured in October’s Turkey Magazine.
2002 Rick Stein Food Hero. James is in the top 3 for the BBC National Food and Farming Awards. Featured in Speciality Food Magazine-November, Dereham & Fakenham Times-November and Country Living Magazine in December.
2003 Paul Heiney films Peele’s for his Victorian Summer and Winter programmes, to be aired on Anglia TV. Also features in The Times December Magazine and Delicious Magazine.
2004 Features in Gridline Spring Edition, EDP Norfolk magazine December, AMC Review, Suffolk and Norfolk Life magazine. NFU Countryside Magazine Dec and Restaurant magazine Nov. His Royal Highness Prince Charles visits our stand at the Royal Norfolk Show.
Country Club UK Brouchure
2008 Featured with Galton Blackinston in Delicious magazine Dec-8th Edition and EDP. Article published for Rare Breeds in Canada for Genesis publication Volume 23 No: 3.
2009 Suffolk and Norfolk Life magazine Dec issue
2009 Peele’s Norfolk Black Turkeys mentioned in Delia Smith’s cook book ‘Delia’s Happy Christmas’
Filmed for ‘Great British Railways’ with Michael Portillo.
Filmed for ‘Ade In Britain’ with Adrian Edmundson November ITV Productions.
Poultry World Feature November Issue
EDP articles on turkeys and old fashioned harvest August and September. Featured in the Sunday Telegraph November issue.
On a busy lead up to Christmas James talks to Radio 4