Preserving the heritage of the famous Norfolk Black Turkeys

August 1 2015

The family firm Peele's Norfolk Black Turkeys, are dedicated to preserving the heritage of the famous Norfolk poultry breed and are hoping to encourage year-round interest in the bird’s fascinating history. 

Peele’s Norfolk Black Turkeys, based in Thuxton, are celebrating 135 years of rearing and selling the birds, known for their jet-black plumage and finely-textured meat. Farm owner James Graham is the 4th generation to have dedicated themselves to the preservation of the breed, which was saved from extinction in the 1950s by his grandfather Frank Peele. This year celebrating its 135th year the family have decided to highlight the history of the bird, which stretches back much further to around the 1500s.

Despite its familiar name, the Norfolk Black Turkey actually originated in South America and is believed to have been introduced to Europe by the Spanish explorer Pedro Nino around the year 1500; so the current custodian of the breed hopes to build a museum to educate his customers about the bird’s fascinating background, and the family who have made it their business to put it on the Christmas dinner table.