2013-11-13   facebook twitter rss

Stage Set for Skipton Christmas Primestock Spectacular

The countdown is on to the highlight of Skipton Auction Mart’s festive show and sale season, the annual Lingfield Christmas primestock event on Sunday, December 1, which attracts both farmers and butchers from miles around.

Farmers make a special effort in preparing their prime cattle, lambs and pigs for the fixture because of the outstanding trading levels normally achieved, particularly for supreme champions and other prize winners. They are asked to note that all livestock entries must by received by this coming Monday, November 18.

Oxenhope’s Stephen Pepper, left, checks out his 2012 Skipton Christmas prime lamb carcase champion, joined by wife Tracy, and judges Matthew Inskip and Ian Weatherhead.

Oxenhope’s Stephen Pepper, left, checks out his 2012 Skipton Christmas prime lamb carcase champion, joined by wife Tracy, and judges Matthew Inskip and Ian Weatherhead.

Butchers, both traditional family-run independent retail businesses and leading meat wholesalers who buy on behalf of their own butcher customers, target the day because it presents an opportunity to purchase the cream of the region’s locally reared primestock for their customers’ Christmas tables – and meet the farmers who produce it in person.

Now into its the sixth year as a Sunday showcase, styled on London’s famous former Smithfield Christmas Fatstock Show, the event is the climax of the Craven Cattle Mart’s primestock year and regularly attracts well over 1,000 people.

There are ten butcher’s cattle classes and eight butcher’s sheep classes, featuring all the popular local breeds and a host of special prizes up for grabs by vendors. Last year’s prime cattle champion sold for a mart record price of £3,810, or £6.35p/kg, with the prime lamb title winners making a staggering £500 per head, or £12.20p/kg. The prime pig victors sold for £235 each.

Last year’s inaugural lamb carcase competition proved a runaway success and is being repeated at this year’s renewal. It is regarded as an ideal opportunity for butchers, hotels and restaurants to purchase award-winning carcases for display and sale in the run up to Christmas.

The high profile event also features the fifth annual Great Northern Pork Pie Competition, where Yorkshire and Lancashire butchers, farm shops and bakers who make their own pies go head to head in a competition to find who produces the best.

Farmhouse Fare in Skipton has lifted the supreme pork pie championship for the past three years and will be back again in the hope of making it a four-timer, though keen competition from Red Rose pie-makers, who have yet to land the overall championship, can be expected.

Judged by expert pork pie aficionados, there are classes for traditional, stand and speciality cold eating pies, Scotch Eggs and, new this year, sausage rolls. Last year’s inaugural rich fruit cake competition, a hit with farmers’ wives in particular, is being repeated. A show and sale of fodder hay is again on the agenda, while a new innovation is a five-strong show class for crooks and walking sticks.

There is once more a strong charity element to the entire day, with Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice in Oxenhope again set to benefit from charity auctions of pork pies, cakes and hay bales. Thousands of pounds have been raised in past years.

Judging in the butchers’ primestock show classes begins at 11am, with the action-packed day of trophy presentations and sales concluding with charity auctions around 5pm.

Results of the CCM Farmer of the Year Awards, open to all regular vendors at the auction mart and honouring a champion among them, will also be announced during the afternoon.

Skipton Auction Mart’s general manager Jeremy Eaton said: “This extra-special day for farmers and butchers – and members of the public who want to see something refreshingly different - continues to grow in both popularity and stature. It’s one of the most important and enjoyable days in our entire year and we would like to thank all vendors, buyers and sponsors in advance.”

Skipton’s festive show and sale season begins with the Christmas calf and dairy shows on Monday, November 25. There are also Christmas cast cow and sheep shows on Monday, December 2, with the Christmas poultry show on Saturday, November 14.

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