Louth’s butchers and bakers on top form

Hollie Pocklington with sales assistant Justin Burnham, with some of the award-winning haslet. EMN-141021-153625001
Hollie Pocklington with sales assistant Justin Burnham, with some of the award-winning haslet. EMN-141021-153625001

Butchers and bakers in Louth are celebrating after achieving unrivalled success in the Lincolnshire Poacher Competition last week.

Trevor Fairburn Butchers, Lakings of Louth, Jackson’s Butchers, Meridian Meats and Pocklington’s Bakery all helped to retain Louth’s crown as the food capital of Lincolnshire when they each won a multitude of awards at the Lincolnshire Showground on Wednesday October 15.

Pocklington’s Bakery, based in Withern, earned special commendation when they were crowned as the ‘class champion’ in the haslet category, in which they were also the only gold award winners.

The categories in this year’s competition were Lincolnshire Sausage, speciality sausage, gluten-free sausage, stuffed chine, haslet, plum bread, pork pie, sausage roll, steak pie, burger, bacon and ‘innovations’ (meat and non-meat).

Chris Pocklington, the owner of Pocklington’s Bakery, said: “This is the sixth time we have entered the Poacher competition, and we are proud to have won class champion and a gold award for our haslet.

“We make our haslet locally and we use fresh local pork from Kirk’s Quality Foods in Skegness. There’s no big secret ingredient or anything, it’s just made with care.

“I know that Lincolnshire is seen as the food county of Britain, but I think that Louth is definitely the food capital of Lincolnshire.”

Meridian Meats owner Jim Sutcliffe was also pleased with his success, after receiving a dozen awards including gold for his stuffed chine and Lincolnshire sausages.

Mr Sutcliffe said: “I’m really pleased that we won these awards, especially since you go into it not expecting to win because the categories are so highly contested.

“My ambition is for us to win a class champion award one day, and this year we were just a couple of marks away from class champion so we just missed out.”

Mr Sutcliffe added: “I think the results just go to show what a little gem Louth is really, especially to still have five award-winning butchers in the town.”

Trevor Fairburn said that he was “very happy and proud” with the success of Trevor Fairburn Butchers this year, as the business received 17 awards from their 19 products entered.

Mr Fairburn added: “We were always confident, but on the day it’s down to the judges’ tastes. We put in a lot of hard work and it’s good to get these awards and feedback.”

Lakings of Louth won an array of awards, including gold for their plain and smoked bacon.

Richard Nightingale from Jackson’s Butchers, which scooped an incredible 18 awards, said: “It’s fantastic, and we got all the awards we were after.

“We work hard all year to make sure we keep the recipe the same.

“We have got a lot of creativity and we like to put a spin on things, so we were particularly pleased with our gold awards in the ‘innovation’ category.”

Mr Nightingale added: “It’s a shame to see the ‘Butcher of the Year’ award leave Louth for the first time since 2008”, as Simpsons Butchers of Heckington took the award this year.

Maureen Rhoden, Lincolnshire County Foods secretary, said: “This year we had over 420 entries in the Lincolnshire Poacher Competition, which is more than we’ve ever had.

“In the last competition in 2012, we had 40 entries in the innovations category - this year, we had over 80.

“The response has been mind-blowing, and we hope that all the winners will be able to attend the awards presentation evening.”