Annual Goose Walk Well-Attended
British Goose Producers’ (BGP) annual farm walk at the Franklin’s farm in Bedfordshire proved the biggest occasion in its 30 year history last October.
Members from all parts of the UK and also Eire were joined by students and staff from two agricultural colleges and local guests, with almost 100 people viewing not only the geese, but a wide range of other livestock, in this traditional, mixed farming enterprise at Thorncote Green, near Sandy.
Host farmer John Franklin, BGP chairman, explained that the business was set up as a family enterprise in 1987, starting in the supply of free range eggs to local shops and restaurants. His sister, Blanche Walker, developed trade at farmers’ markets, and now has stalls at 14 markets a month.
He said they had been rearing geese for Christmas for the past 27 years, starting with just 25, and now rearing around 500 for retail sale, mainly at Christmas. A flock of 40 laying geese produces eggs for the increasing demand during spring and summer.
With the opening of a butchery 10 years ago, the farm shop has become a flourishing seven-days-a-week business retailing, as well as the geese, Aberdeen Angus cross beef, lamb, pork, turkeys, ducks and chickens. Half of the 200 acres provides grass, while the other land grows cereals for milling into animal feed.
This year, a new category of associate membership was introduced, and they featured in a number of trade stands by suppliers to the goose sector.