Because it’s Cool:
Sutton Hoo was founded because owner Belinda and her late husband, Charles, could no longer find great-tasting chicken in the UK.
When they were visiting family in South Africa the difference in quality of the chicken they ate was so stark they decided they were going to re-create the chicken they remembered from their childhood right here in the UK.
The answer was a surprisingly simple one – go back to ‘old-fashioned’ methods of farming; allow the chickens to run free and forage and grow at their own pace rather than rear them en-masse in battery-farmed sheds and inject them with antibiotics and hormones.
Farming in tune with nature is the easier and most rewarding part of the job. Getting people to understand the price difference involved in farming this way is much more of a challenge – but Belinda and business partner Will know that once anyone tastes their truly succulent chicken, they rarely go back to the supermarket.
Especially as one chicken can create three meals – a Sunday roast with leftovers being used for curries or stews, and the carcass for the basis of a delicious soup.
Because it Matters:
That’s not to say farming in this way is easy, a lot goes into creating a great tasting chicken and it starts way before it reaches your kitchen.
The birds have 24/7 access to mobile houses that have no artificial lighting (so they birds can rise with the sun and sleep when it gets dark) and are naturally ventilated.
During the day the sides are completely opened up so all chickens have access to 40 acres of Suffolk fields to graze and forage. Chickens notoriously dig up fields so the sheds are moved when new chickens arrive to make sure they have fresh pasture.
Their diet is supplemented with grains and they are not given antibiotics (unless necessary for their health reasons) or hormones.
The breed of chicken is also important. A Hubbard chicken grows much slower so they are reared for an average of 10 weeks. This is 25% longer than standard free-range chickens and 70% longer than standard indoor chickens.WHERE TO BUY SUTTON HOO CHICKEN