Norfolk bacon brings glory for Yarmouth butcher
Award-winning Norfolk bacon has scooped a second national prize for a Great Yarmouth butcher.
Butcher Andrew Edmonds was presented with the independent speciality award for his dry cured tomato and basil bacon made from the Jimmy Butler's award-winning Blythburgh Free Range Pork.
The judges of the Bacon Connoisseurs' Savour Your Bacon competition tasted more than 230 products from butchers across the country – all bearing the Red Tractor mark of quality.
Keith Fisher, who is a BPEX master butcher, said: 'We had a record-breaking number of entries this year, and the standard was incredibly high.'
The award was presented by wine expert Oz Clarke in London. By chance Mr Edmonds and his wife, Lisa, who were travelling to London for the final met pig farmers Alastair and his father Jimmy Butler on the same train. They run about 2,000 outdoor sows on the coast around Blythburgh and supply butchers across East Anglia and London, the Midlands and the north of England.
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'They were delighted that we were finalists again. And afterwards I told them that we had won the speciality award for the second year running,' said Mr Edmonds. Last year, his organic beer and black treacle bacon, also made from Blythburgh pork, brought their first success in the competition.
'We are thrilled to bits to win a national completion two years' running, and it just shows how good our bacon is here in Norfolk made from Suffolk-raised Blythburgh free range pork. We also received gold awards for our smoked and unsmoked bacons,' he added.
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Since they switched to Blythburgh, sales have risen dramatically,' said Mrs Edmonds.
'We produce all the bacon ourself. We buy in the pigs and then split them – the legs will go into legs and gammons. The loins and bellies make the bacon and streaky bacon and the rest goes into our sausages.
'We're so busy at the moment, it is unbelievable because I think that more people are becoming aware of where their food has been produced. They want to know the chain. We source everything from East Anglia.
'The supermarkets can't produce what we produce because we have 50 lines of different sausages. You've got to be one step ahead and that's what we do.'
About two years ago, they expanded into adjoining premises and today the business employs a total of 14 staff. 'Last month, we took on a 23-year-old apprentice,' said Mrs Edmonds.
And they have plans to bake even more home-produced pies and prepared meals, which will involve taking on more staff.
www.lovepork.co.uk has created the Savour Your Bacon recipe booklet.