New farmer co-op aims to develop local poultry market

This week sees the launch of a pilot scheme aimed at getting farmers working together in developing a market for locally-produced poultry in north east England.

Funded as a feasibility study by the [Made in Northumberland Project], Northumberland Poultry is a new co-operative of five farmers producing local chicken, ducks and guinea fowl.

The co-op is headed by Paul Mooney while Richard Tolson, manager of alternative enterprises at [Blagdon Home Farm] will process the poultry at the farm’s processing unit.

Mr Mooney said: “The poultry that this co-operative produces will be local at its best. We believe that not only are we adding to the choice and reputation of Northumberland’s food, but our brand will have an impact on tourists, and how they perceive the county.

“We very much hope that in restaurants and outlets, a free-range Northumberland duck will be a key feature on the menu.”

Initially, the co-op has placed 200 free-range chickens, 200 ducks and 100 guinea fowl for fattening over the coming weeks. Their arrival on-farm has been specifically timed to hit the market during the Easter holidays. 

The chickens and guinea fowl are being reared at Thistleyhaugh Farm, while the ducks are being reared at Bewlaw, all housed in custom-built, free-range poultry units, leased by The Made In Northumberland Project.

Made in Northumberland poultry products will be available at restaurants and retail stores across the north east and a number of businesses have already signed up to the new range, including the [Anglers Arms at Weldon Bridge.]

Owner John Young said: “We signed up because primarily we did not have a supplier of good free range poultry in the county, and to keep the value local. Local farmers and local people will benefit through tourism.”

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