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Record entries at Christmas poultry auctions across Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 12:58 22 December 2017 | UPDATED: 17:05 24 December 2017

Auctioneer Mike Sarson at work at the Christmas Poultry Show and Sale at Diss. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Auctioneer Mike Sarson at work at the Christmas Poultry Show and Sale at Diss. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2017

An annual tradition mixing the joys of the festive season with the tension of a bidding battle brought hundreds of people to auctions across Norfolk, hoping to secure a prized bird for the Christmas dinner table.

Turkeys at the Christmas Poultry Show and Sale at Diss. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Turkeys at the Christmas Poultry Show and Sale at Diss. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

There was a record entry of 285 turkeys, chickens, ducks, geese and guinea fowl awaiting a packed saleroom at Diss Auction Rooms on Thursday evening as TW Gaze held its Christmas Poultry Show and Sale – where the top price was £106 for a champion goose.

Auctioneer Ed Baskerville, a rural business director at the firm, said: “Average prices were similar to last years which bearing in mind the increased numbers, paid testament to the quality of the birds offered for sale by the vendors many of whom have now consigned to the sale for over 20 years.”

The poultry show held prior to the sale was judged by chef Freddie Jones, who trained at The Savoy in London, worked at Maxim’s in Paris and was captain of the 1993/94 British cooking team.

Meanwhile, Norwich Livestock Market, on Hall Road, also had a record entry with 640 birds selling out during three hours of solid trading on Wednesday evening.

Keen buyers study the birds at the Christmas Poultry Show and Sale at Diss. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Keen buyers study the birds at the Christmas Poultry Show and Sale at Diss. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Customers came for the thrill of buying a bird at a live auction – and many said it was the only time of the year they buy anything in this way.

Auctioneer Philip Dale said “The range of the poultry entered this year was top-class. We have to thank the producers for superb quality of birds on offer.”

Market chairman Stephen Lutkin added: “It has been a fabulous evening and shows there is still an appetite for buying Christmas food in the traditional way.”

Hundreds of people also turned out for Keys’ annual Christmas poultry sale at Aylsham, where 338 turkeys, geese, ducks and chickens from local farms went under the hammer on Wednesday morning.

Rosette winning turkeys at the Christmas Poultry Show and Sale at Diss. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Rosette winning turkeys at the Christmas Poultry Show and Sale at Diss. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

First held in 1953, this is the 65th year that the sale has taken place at Keys.

Auctioneer David Gould said: “It is really nice to bring together local producers and local consumers, especially in these days when people want to know where their food has come from. Unlike much supermarket poultry, those coming to our sale will know exactly who has raised their bird, and in many cases will be able to chat with the producer themselves.

“Our business has been transformed in recent years by innovations such as online bidding, but it is good to see some traditions living on and remaining very popular.”

For late Christmas shoppers, there is still a last-gasp chance to snap up a champion Norfolk turkey, goose, duck or cockerel before the big day at the Swaffham Poultry Auction, at The Racetrack in Swaffham from 11am on Saturday, December 23.

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