Christmas Cracker Sale brings exceptional livestock to St Boswells
Harrison & Hetherington, are once again hosting the Christmas Cracker show and primestock sale at St Boswells Auction Mart in early December. This annual sales event in the mart’s calendar provides butchers from across the Scottish Borders and the North of England the fantastic opportunity to source their meat from local farmers for the festive period.
This pre-Christmas sale, which will be held on Tuesday 5th December, is an annual fixture for many livestock producers across the Scottish Borders and Lothians. It attracts many important buyers looking to purchase exceptional quality meat for the Christmas and New Year demand – as well as to showcase the hard-won rosettes from the year’s shows.
It is anticipated that there will be in the region of 70 prime cattle and 120 pairs of lambs (consisting of lowland and hill breeds) being presented. The show – which commences at 2.00pm – is a key part of the day; there are 28 classes, a prize fund of £2000, and trophies presented to the overall cattle and sheep champions. Judging the native cattle classes is Mr Martin Baird, Family Butcher, Melrose, the Continental and Championship cattle classes will be judged by Mr Steven Wilson, Butcher and Farmer, Carlisle, Cumbria, and the sheep will be judged by Mr Jamie Scott of John Scott (Meats), Paisley. The sale will commence at 5pm with the sheep following on at 6pm with the cattle.
Speaking in advance of the sale Adam Grieve, Auctioneer for Harrison and Hetherington said: “This is a special sale in our calendar – with everyone embracing the festive spirit. It always has a party atmosphere and showcases some exceptional quality animals. We have a loyal following of butchers who attend, as they know that they will have the opportunity to purchase fully traceable livestock for their customers’ Christmas tables.”
Sponsored by The Royal Bank of Scotland, Border Motor Group, Roxan Tags, Tarff Valley Ltd, and Thomas Sherriff & Co since its inception in 2012, the Christmas Cracker sale continues to grow from strength to strength and has now established itself as a key annual sale in the Scottish Borders.
Commenting on the current trading, Adam – who is responsible for selling sheep – said: “St Boswells consistency attracts a high number of butchers and wholesalers. The market has a great reputation of selling quality stock, with sellers and buyers valuing this and come here to do business. Quality always sells and that’s why this mart is so successful.”
William Hamilton, who farms at Bee Edge Farm in Berwickshire, and finishes between 350-400 head of cattle each year said, “The Christmas Cracker allows us to show off our cattle at a nationally renowned show and sale competing against like-minded farmers and hopefully going home with some rosettes and some silverware.”
“The whole family normally attend ‘The Cracker’ to participate in the special atmosphere which culminates in the sale of livestock in the evening.”
Neil Sandilands from Wester Ulston Farm near Jedburgh, is a regular at St Boswells, and when asked why he attends ‘The Cracker’, Neil replied “Education! When the lambs from the various classes are in the ring being judged, you get to see what is required for the modern trade.” Neil himself can relate to this and has changed the day to day management to improve the finished product he produces. He will be showing lambs this year and hopes to be among the prize winners.
As a buyer, Louise Forsyth of W T F Forsyth and Sons Quality Butchers, in Peebles, doesn’t compromise when it comes to quality meat. The shop, which was founded in 1938 and employs 38 full and part time staff, has supplied meat to the Borders for decades and finds the quality of cattle at St Boswells is unsurpassed compared to other border markets.
When asked what ‘The Cracker’ meant to her, Louise replied “a great day out for the family. It’s a wonderful selection of cattle and a tremendous gathering of Border farmers talking with friends past and present. You get the thrill and excitement of the sale and the possibility of buying the champion animal.”
Asked what the general public could get from attending ‘The Cracker’ Louise replied, “If you are interested in what you eat, then you should attend to see the quality livestock produced by Border farmers for butchers to purchase for the general public to enjoy.”
Adam adds, “Good quality animals are always in demand, and particularly at Christmas, so we are expecting a very busy ringside on the 5 December. We hope to see our loyal customers but also some new ones and it would be great to welcome the general public to show them the amazing stock produced in our region.
“It’s a truly great way to end the year, as we look forward with optimism for the year ahead.”
The closing date for entries for the 2017 Christmas Cracker Sale is Thursday 30th November. Anyone wishing to enter cattle and sheep should contact Harrison & Hetherington or visit the website www.harrisonandhetherington.co.uk.