Hampshire butchers to compete for top title

County food group Hampshire Fare is urging shoppers to encourage their local independent butcher to enter this year's The Great Hampshire Sausage, Pie & Ready Meal Competition.

Organised by Hampshire Fare, this prestigious county competition is held annually for Hampshire butchers and meat producers to compete for the coveted Supreme Champion award. This year's competition will be on 4 March.

Tim Brock, Hampshire Fare Manager said: "This is always an exciting event designed to reward excellence and promote Hampshire's independent retail butchers and livestock farmers.

"The national judges are always very impressed with the quality of the products. This competition puts the spotlight on the quality and choice available locally through farm shops, independent butchers and at Hampshire farmers' markets."

The 2008 competition attracted 244 individual entries from 28 Hampshire butchers and meat producers, with judges awarding 68 gold certificates and 13 trophies. Martin Martindale of Greenfield Pork Products in Andover swept the board in 2008, winning champion trophies for Best Hampshire Sausage, Best Speciality Pork Sausage, Best Valentines Sausage and Best Hampshire Farmers' Market Entry, as well as the overall Supreme Champion award.

Martin put this down to the quality of his meat, reared with the highest standards of animal welfare, and using complementary Hampshire ingredients for his winning sausage recipes.

The Great Hampshire Sausage, Pie & Ready Meal Competition is sponsored by The British Pig Executive, with support from Hampshire County Council and Lucas Ingredients.

Overall there are 11 categories including sausages, hot and cold pies, bacon, ready meals and barbecue products, which are judged by a team of professional sausage makers from across the UK and specially invited guests including the local media. Producers are encouraged to think local, using added ingredients sourced from Hampshire, such as beer, cider, cheeses and chutneys.

Butchers and meat producers wanting to take part should contact Tim Brock of Hampshire Fare on 01962 845999, tim.brock@hants.gov.uk for details.

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