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Turkey farmer plucks top prize

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Latest news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

A farmer has been awarded the championship cup from the last surviving turkey show in the UK.

Johnson’s Poultry in Little Cornard scooped top prize for its hens in the under 5.5 kilograms category.

The annual show in Stoke-by-Nayland – organised by the Anglian Turkey Association (ATA) – is the last of its kind in the country.

The show is a unique event where birds are displayed in the way they were traditionally hung outside butcher’s shops.

These kind of shows were once widespread in the UK, with turkeys “show plucked” to leave their neck feathers in tact.

Now the ATA holds the last surviving show with support from its 150 members.

Clive Johnson has been running Johnson’s Poultry for the last 30 years. It supplies a range of products to around 18 butchers, including bronze and white turkeys, chicken and geese.

It also sells directly from Yorley farm where staff are busy preparing orders for Christmas.

At last week’s show, Mr Johnson was awarded the Kelly championship cup for the third time in eight years.

Johnson’s Poultry was up against tough competition with around 100 producers entering the competition.

Mr Johnson said: “We always hope to win that particular cup. There is about five or six cups in total, so it is nice to be able to get one.”

He said the run-up to Christmas was a hectic time of year for the business.

“We’ve had a lot of early orders,” he said. “People are getting ready earlier than ever this year.”

Mr Johnson said trade was brisk despite the increasing decline in butcher’s shops in the area.

When the Johnson family began rearing poultry in 1948, they supplied seven butchers in Sudbury alone.

Recently, they have seen a growing demand for ready-prepared products, like turkey rolls and pigs in blankets.

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