CHAIRMAN'S COMMENTS: Our chairman John Franklin reviews the goose sector


Goose breast now ‘fillet steak of poultry cuisine’

I’ve spoken to a few members who all reported strong sales of geese, which was helped by the extra publicity generated by The Archers. Lots of media interest in The Archers story resulted in many small articles in national newspapers and reports on radio and television, which kept geese in the news. So well done to everyone who advised The Archers programme.

Some producers reported underweight geese, ourselves included, but farmgate customers are generally understanding. It is more difficult, however, supplying butchers if they don't get the weights they require. Other producers were very satisfied with their size range and reported very large geese.

This Christmas our farm shop sales were 2 percent up on 2014, and people spent money across the board on all products. Goose, beef and pork all grew in popularity; turkey, duck and lamb sold to similar levels as 2014.

More customers are looking for more portions of poultry rather than whole birds, and are looking for added stuffing into the product as well. We are well placed to offer any cuts of goose to the customer selling the breast or legs separately, and trimming the carcass for goose sausage. Care must be taken to price the portions to make whole bird price and people are happy to pay a premium at Christmas. Goose breast is the fillet steak of poultry cuisine.

We turned 15% of our geese into three-bird roasts, although not as popular as in the past. It is still another product to offer and another goose sold. Many of these are sold mail order to first-time customers looking for a centerpiece on their Christmas table. The small amount of butchers I supply all had similar to or higher sales than last year, but I’m not sure if this was the same for the larger growers. All in all, there were many good signs for geese and looking forward to next Christmas with a positive outlook.

Don't forget to sell your goose feathers - for more information see the Goose Members Handbook.

It's now time to renew your membership subscriptions, and I look forward to seeing you at the spring meeting.