Swainson House Farm

Farmer: Reg Johnson

The small picturesque Lancashire village of Goosnargh looms large on the gastronomic map of Great Britain, thanks to Reg Johnson and Bud Swarbrick.

Three decades ago, when buying poultry imported from France was the only sure way for chefs to source birds with the eating quality they demanded, chef Paul Heathcote set Reg and Bud the challenge of producing an English chicken to rival the celebrated poulet de Bresse. Nowadays, their poultry earns pride of place on the menus of premier division chefs up and down the land: Raymond Blanc, Marcus Wareing, Mark Hix and Michel Roux, to name but a few.

Goosnargh chickens, ducks and turkeys are reared in airy barns with plenty of fresh straw and lots of space to run about, while the hardier geese live outdoors during the day, only coming in for protection at night. Reg and Bud's birds are fed like royalty, enjoying a corn-rich diet that's as proudly supervised as any chef's signature dish: "We refuse to use any additives, growth promoters or antibiotics" says Reg.

End result? Memorable poultry that really is a joy to eat.

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