The small south Lincs chicken producer making a big impact

“The ultimate easy-carve chicken” is not wrong. This tagline tells you all you need to know about Crowland-based (near Peterborough) Floppy Chicken. Following a day spent photographing (and tasting), we can vouch for all claims!

The Floppy Chicken concept – basically a fresh chicken minus the bones – has been developed by husband and wife team Barbara and Steve Vanstone on their Queens Bank Farm, with additional family support. It is a wonderfully convenient and tasty solution to cooking and carving a whole bird and will surely catch on with more and more people as time goes on. Add to this a choice of seven stuffings and there is something for everyone. You can choose from traditional sage and onion sausagemeat stuffing through to chorizo, mozzarella and basil, or perhaps dry-cure gammon, leek and Cheddar.

Barbara Vanstone

Barbara Vanstone

With no bones and an even shape from end to end, Floppy Chickens are really easy to cook and get consistent results every time, with the bonus of a delicious stuffing in the centre.

We should also mention that they do a floppy duck and with Christmas on the horizon, floppy turkeys for the easiest Christmas roast ever.

All of their chickens, which they raise on the farm, are of the very finest quality, sourced from British Red Tractor suppliers. In preparation for the arrival of the new day-old chicks, all the old bedding and litter created by the previous flock is removed and the home is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Like most newly born warm-blooded animals, chicks are sensitive to the cold and infections and so are placed under heat lamps to keep them safe and warm. When they’re old enough, the chickens are free to roam and forage throughout their new home, eating and drinking as they wish.

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Wherever possible Barbara and Steve source all of their stuffing ingredients from local producers and suppliers usually within a 10-mile radius. They continue to actively seek out and build relationships with local producers, to lower the accumulative food miles and support local business.

After being slaughtered, the chickens become ‘galantine’, a French-derived dish that means deboned stuffed meat, most typically poultry. The process is done entirely by hand with only a very sharp knife and a careful eye. To date this process is carried out by their trained team of family members. The chicken is then carefully and generously stuffed with our large variety of fillings, wrapped, tied and packed.

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Floppy Chicken can be regularly found at the following farmers markets:

1st Saturday of each month – Cambs & Creake Abbey, Norfolk
2nd Saturday of each month – Oundle, Northamptonshire
2nd Sunday of each month – St Albans, Hertfordshire
3rd Saturday of each month – Oakham, Rutland
4th Sunday of each month – Harpenden, Hertfordshire

Floppy Chicken also attend many events where the chickens are cooked on site in a wood-fired hot smoker – often alongside a delicious slab of dry-rubbed brisket.

They also offer mail order delivery – an increasingly popular option. Some people just can’t wait for their local farmers market to arrive, and who can blame them!

Floppy Chicken Company, Queens Bank Farm, Queens Bank, Crowland, Peterborough PE6 0JR
01406 330488 or 07736 211272

PHOTOS: Robin Stewart

Robin Stewart
The author:

Robin is the founder and head tutor at Rutland Cookery School. He also photographs anything to do with food, cycles, goes fishing and has two grown-up children. He lives in Oakham.