People gobbling up free range turkeys this Christmas

Tis' the season to be jolly but some consumers are more concerned about where the food on their table has come from this Christmas.

One Canterbury farm selling free range turkeys has seen sales increase nearly 13 percent every year.

The pampered turkeys relax listening to the radio - something Lachlan Dick, the co-owner of Canter Valley poultry specialists, said has a "calming influence on them".

"It makes them feel like they're not alone."

More than 40,000 turkeys a year are reared just north of Christchurch. 4000 are processed in the three weeks leading up to Christmas.

"It's a lot for us but by international standards it's not very many at all," said Mr Dick.

In the past five years, demand for these free range turkeys - certified by Free Range Egg and Poultry New Zealand - has sky-rocketed 64 percent.

"Free range is associated with animals being brought up better and being happier in their environment," said Kathy Guard, Canter Valley's co-owner.

Caterers at Addington Raceway have ordered half a tonne of turkey breasts for December alone. Feeding over 7000 customers - free range is the only option.

"We believe that getting it fresh straight from the farm is the best possible way of sourcing it," said Graeme Jones, Addington Raceway and Event Centre's executive chef.

"It's got better flavour, the animals been walking around in a paddock rather than stuck in a cage so therefore  its muscle structure has had a chance to grow, its seen sunlight."