The Cornish Duck Company has matured from a fledgling food enterprise to a business in full flight, featuring on BBC’s Countryfile last month and taking home a host of awards at Taste of The West 2014.
In 2006, Roger and Tanya Olver began converting the family farm into a free-range duck estate to house their unique breed – in a style to which they quickly became acustom! The hatchery, nursery, paddling pools, holiday park and retirement village were part of a very special model devised by the couple to give them complete control over the entire process. As the enterprise grew off the back of its immediate success with the discerning chefs and restaurant-goers of Cornwall, The Cornish Duck Company made a name for itself as a source of ethically-reared meat with an unrivalled flavour.
Eight years on and the couple have perfected their closely-guarded formula, which is based on traditional breeds combined for good growth, flavour and fat to meat ratio. “One thing we value strongly in the breed is that the ducks all have very strong legs, which supports growth without compromising quality of life,” says Tanya.
A head for heights may quickly become a feature of this breed, as every fortnight a batch take to the skies bound for the Isles of Scilly, as Matt Baker found out when presenting a special edition of Countryfile focusing on this stunning group of islands. The ducklings are usually unaccompanied on their Skybus flight after being checked-in by Tanya, to be collected at the other end by farmers Dave and Kylie.
At Salakee Farm on St Mary’s, Dave and Kylie take charge of the special cargo which, when they grow up, enjoy 8 weeks free-range island life. Like Roger and Tanya, Dave and Kylie pride themselves on the care taken of their animals, managing the entire process to produce a meat which is reared, processed and consumed on the remote islands.
Back on the mainland, Roger and Tanya have been expanding their range. Their Smoked Free Range Duck Breast recently won a Taste of the West Silver award, as did the regular non-smoked variety. Duck Burgers (Bronze Award) and Drakes Pudding (Silver) are also popular ways of enjoying the flavour of Cornish Duck.
You can find the full range of products every Saturday at Truro Farmers Market on Lemon Quay.