SALES OF geese at Michaelmas are gaining ground, as more people revive an ancient custom that heralds the start of the goose season, according to the British Goose Producers‘ Association.

Michaelmas, celebrated on Sept 29 in most of the country, marks the ‘crown‘ of the year and the turn of the seasons.

It also signifies the beginning of one of the four Law Terms and the church observes the festival of St. Michael and all Angels, says John Adlard, chairman of the association.  

With the harvest finished, debts and rents were traditionally paid on this day and magistrates were appointed, farms changed hands and it was customary for tenants to present their landlords with a goose.

This autumn, British producers worked hard to meet the growing demand for fresh goose.

The birds are in season from September to the end of the year when around half a million will be coming to market.

Although most geese are eaten at Christmas, the appeal of the Michaelmas goose has taken hold.

Top London stores are making them available and an increasing number of restaurants are including goose on their menus at Michaelmas, or during the autumn, in an exciting range of dishes, said Mr Adlard.

The healthy, outdoor lifestyle of the goose, its natural diet and ready traceability has contributed to the renaissance of fresh goose in this country.

“There are growing concerns about the origins of meat nowadays but with a fresh Michaelmas goose, you know you’re eating a naturally reared and traditional food,” said Mr Adlard.
 
He adds that consumers looking to buy a fresh goose for Christmas should ask their butcher well in advance, or visit the association‘s website (www.goose.cc) for details of local suppliers.