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Here’s where you can bid for a champion Christmas turkey at poultry auctions across Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 15:10 15 December 2018 | UPDATED: 14:07 18 December 2018

The TW Gaze annual Christmas poultry and show and sale in Diss. Picture: Sonya Duncan

The TW Gaze annual Christmas poultry and show and sale in Diss. Picture: Sonya Duncan

ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434

The chance to buy a prize-winning bird for the Christmas table will bring hundreds of bidders to traditional poultry auctions across Norfolk next week.

Auctioneer David Gould on the rostrum at the 2017 Keys annual Christmas poultry sale. Picture: Andy Newman.Auctioneer David Gould on the rostrum at the 2017 Keys annual Christmas poultry sale. Picture: Andy Newman.

Hundreds of turkeys, geese, chickens and ducks will go under the hammer as people aim to snap up fresh birds, reared by East Anglian farmers, before the big day.

At Aylsham, a festive tradition which has taken place in every year of the Queen’s reign will return on Thursday.

The annual Christmas poultry sale, run by auctioneers Keys since 1953, takes place from 11am on December 20 at the firm’s salerooms off Palmers Lane, with viewing of the birds from 9am.

Keys director Kevin Lines said the majority of the birds, which include Norfolk Black and Bronze turkeys, and free-range geese and ducks, have been raised by small-scale local farmers.

Fresh locally-grown poultry at Norwich Livestock Market's Christmas sale in 2017. Picture: Penelope LucasFresh locally-grown poultry at Norwich Livestock Market's Christmas sale in 2017. Picture: Penelope Lucas

“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,” he said. “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.”

Also on Thursday, December 20, around 250 birds including turkeys, chickens, geese, ducks and guinea fowl, will be sold by TW Gaze auctioneers at their annual Christmas Poultry Show and Sale at the Diss Auction Rooms on Roydon Road.

Public viewing is from 4pm and the sale will start at 5pm following a poultry show, where champion birds will be selected by judge Freddie Jones, a retired chef now based in Diss after an illustrious career including stints at the Savoy Hotel in London and Maxim’s in Paris.

Rural surveyor Simon Kirk said: “All the birds are from local farmers and some of our farming families have been putting their birds into our sale for many years.

“The birds are sold as close to Christmas as possible so that they are fresh and ready for the Christmas dinner table. The birds are locally reared, are of superb quality and offer excellent value for money.

“Of course everyone wants the champion turkey for their Christmas dinner so a premium is often paid for the best bird of the show.”

There will also be two special seasonal sales with Fabian Eagle at the Swaffham Poultry Auction. The first will be at Eldon Farm, Holywell Row, from 10.45am on Wednesday, December 19, and the second at The Racetrack in Swaffham from 11am on Saturday, December 22.

Mr Eagle, now in his 33rd year participating in Christmas poultry auctions, said: “Once again we are expecting to have the biggest cockerels to be auctioned in the UK in our auctions, plus turkeys, geese and ducks.”

And the last opportunity to secure a fresh bird for Christmas dinner will be at the annual Christmas poultry sale at Norwich Livestock Market on Hall Road, where hundreds of birds will be sold from 2pm on Saturday December 22, with gates opening at 1pm.

Market chairman Stephen Lutkin said dozens of local suppliers will be sending their poultry, some oven-ready, some long legged for sale by auction.

“This is the traditional way to buy your Christmas meal,” he said. “People have bought their Christmas dinner by auction for centuries. Do come along and enjoy the atmosphere.”

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