We are so glad to be gathering together some of the countries best growers and producers to our table and we can’t wait share the first Rallings’ Feast with them. Please follow the links and follow along…
Sommerlad Heritage Poultry
Slower growing, heritage-style meat chickens – a truly differentiated bird.
Michael Sommerlad is well placed to talk about farm to table dining. He has over five generations of farming in his blood, a passion for ethical animal husbandry and a strong belief in environmentally aware economically sustainable agricultural practices. With this ethos atop 40 years experience in breeding and rearing purebred poultry, the Sommerlads business model is ruffling more than a few feathers in the table poultry world.
There’s no doubt Michael and his wife, Kathryn, are onto something special. Winners of the ABC Delicious Produce Awards in 2015, their birds took out the gong for “Outstanding Innovation”. Their own slow growing heritage style chickens are free ranged, pasture reared and exclusively bred in the New England highlands, and grown, processed and distributed by a handful of authorized Australian farmers across the country. The result? A tender, moist, flavoursome table bird rich in colour and nutrients that taste, well, like chicken ought to taste.
“Our hardy, slower growing meat chickens are hand reared in small groups for up to 14 weeks, explains Kathryn. “That’s 9 weeks longer than the conventional chickens, meaning a far higher quality of bird welfare”. They receive no antibiotics or growth promotants, either. “The birds consume whole grains to supplement their pasture roaming diet,” adds Michael. “And they get to hunt and peck for grit from the earth which is so important for their gut health.”
The Sommerlads are ardent on using natural farming methods that promote healthy soils, healthy vegetation and healthy animals. “We love our beautiful New England region for many reasons. Our high altitude means we experience frosty winters and beautiful crisp, clean air with mild summers that are perfect for the management of our pedigree breeding birds.”
As small-scale Australian family farmers, they have successfully created and continue to maintain a niche table bird market as a viable and sustainable alternative to factory chicken farming. What better way to connect farmer to family.
And about those labels? “Rallings have worked tirelessly to help us find a system that works on wet surfaces, refrigeration, freezing and condensation of cool rooms. This took a bit of trial and error but with very satisfactory results.” Something to crow about, indeed.