John Franklin began in farming as a free range egg producer in 1987, supplying local shops and restaurants and doing a village egg round in the Thorncote Green area of Bedfordshire.
Soon he expanded into production of Christmas geese and turkeys to meet the demand. John started with just 25 geese and is 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.
As well as the Easter market and Christmas, there is a growing demand for fresh free range chickens and ducks all year round.
Two thirds of his 500 geese are sold through the farm shop, with another 100 going to local butchers and other farm shops. John has developed a flourishing trade in their farm shop for portions - goose breasts and legs are popular in the run-up to Christmas, with liver for customers who make their own pate.
Across the country goose eggs are becoming a favoured delicacy during spring and early summer, and John has started selling them too in the farm shop and at farmers' markets. He is looking to expand his laying flock to meet this growing demand.
John sets out his approach:
The poultry are all reared in the traditional way - free to roam the meadows and pastures at the farm in Thorncote Green during the day, and housed at night on beds of home-grown straw. They are fed on cereals and crops grown on our farm.
Our poultry is grown to maturity, then slaughtered on our farm. The birds are dry plucked, then finished by hand. They are hung for 10 days to improve the flavour and texture, before being processed by hand.
John Franklin with his geese
The farm shop with an impressive range of products
John Franklin hosted the BGP annual farm walk in 2014