Burnt-out shedExtensive damage was done to Kelly Turkeys’ processing plant.

Kelly Turkeys has opened a new processing plant at the family’s home farm in Essex, just four months after a devastating fire ripped through the unit.

The plant at Great Baddow has received its official licence from the Food Standards Agency, in time for the processing of 500 turkeys aimed at the Thanksgiving market later this month. Processing of birds for the Christmas market also begins this weekend (22 November).

See also: Fire crews tackle major blaze at turkey factory

Derek Kelly, chairman of Kelly Turkeys, praised the hard work of contractors that had met the challenge of completing in time for the busy Christmas market.

“We have built it on the original footprint, but have been able to make some improvements to the interior, which will help the work flow, and we have a larger overnight cooling room.”

At the same time, the company has been busy building up its US business, and for the first time will be selling 2,500 turkeys that have been reared on a 40ha farm, which the company purchased in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.