With Christmas approaching, farmfresh producers gathered for the Anglian Turkey Association’s annual banquet and show at Stoke-by-Nayland in Suffolk.
The event, held on 24 November, included a traditional show of birds and the presentation of the Goodchild Trophy to recognise outstanding contribution to this area of poultry farming.
The prestigious award was this year presented to Clive Wreathall, who produces turkeys with his brother Andrew near Ashford, Kent. They market their Christmas turkeys under the Appledore label, rearing over 20,000 birds for butchers and farmgate sales.
ATA President Derek Kelly said: “Clive chaired the Traditional Farmfresh Turkey Association (TFTA) for two years, during which he negotiated a grant from DEFRA and used it to make the TFTA a very professional marketing organisation.”
Clive was asked to judge the competition as well and described the decision-making process as ‘dancing on the head of a pin’, as there was so little to choose between the entries. Class winners showed particularly good ‘bloom’, which would give them the edge in terms of taste and texture.
Three classes each went to Essex-based Kelly Turkeys (Stag, Hen Under 5.5kg, Bronze Brace) and Cottage Farm Turkeys of Sevenoaks (White Brace, Oven Ready, Brexit Theme). The Kelly stag was judged as the best bird in the show, winning £250 given by Hockenhull Turkeys.
The coveted best Hen 5.5kg to 8kg went to Mike and Sue Lindsell of Salix Farm Turkeys, near Saffron Walden, and Newmarket-based producer Ian Wylie took home the award for Hen Over 8kg. Commendations go to Blackwell’s Farm Produce, Coggeshall, who collected five places and Philip Hunter of Suffolk Turkeys, Fressingfield, placed four times.
Fundraising at the event allowed for the donation of £1000 to the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance. This was greeted with much applause, showing just how much this life-saving work is valued by the region’s farming community.
The charity’s representative was introduced with some humour by ATA Chairman Martin Shea of Hockenhull Turkeys, who was himself on crutches, after falling down the stairs during a fishing trip to Canada.
In his chairman’s address that followed, Martin paid tribute to two well-known producers that had died during the year: John Martin, who created Lincs Turkeys, and David Grove-Smith, who was remembered among many things as a founding member of the ATA.
The ATA will continue to meet four times each year, starting with the Post Mortem gathering at 8pm on 9th January 2017 at Prested Hall, near Colchester. For more information, please contact Becky McConnell on 01245 223581 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.