Saturday, 25 December 2010

Where has all the turkey gone?

Turkey MonumentReading the paper the other day I was saddened to see that the Turkey Faire in Marcigny (a town in the Brionnais) would not to take place this year. For the first time in 30 years there was to be no Turkey or Gastronomic Faire in the town. The town has lived off the turkey business for generations, there is even a turkey monument at the entrance to the town and the Turkey Faire was big business. Traditionally about 50 or so farmers have sold their birds live to the public. Over the years this developed further to include many other local producers and so the Gastronomic Faire was founded.

Last year however the decline had begun and whilst there was a regional products faire the turkeys were in short supply, but this year there was no faire at all. A sad sign of the times. People want oven-ready cheap food as far from the food chain as possible, but don’t worry about or think about the flavour. Even in these rural parts, buying and preparing a live bird for the table is a step too far for many.

Christmas Lunch It has been noted that local butchers have stopped buying live birds as well and are now buying their turkeys from abattoirs who are supplied by mass production units, the free-range farm-grown turkey is in decline and the Turkey Capital of France is about to lose its crown. Maybe if they gave the turkeys an AOC that would increase their popularity as has been the case in the Bresse with their chickens. In any case, something dramatic has to be done or a local “industry” will be lost for future generations.

The Mayor is hopeful that the faire will be held next year and hopefully by cancelling this year’s faire it will be an awakening to the locals that something is being lost and they will return in large number.

So when you settle down to your turkey today, leave a thought for those turkey producers around here and make a mental note to buy a Marcigny Turkey next year.

Merry Christmas!

La Tuilerie Website

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