Get the mint sauce at the ready, the country’s best lamb has just been named.

From over seventy entries in the 2009 Mint Lamb Competition, Rangiora farmer Grant Hyde has taken the top title with his Texel Perendale lamb named the country’s best, from paddock to plate. Farmers from throughout New Zealand were invited to showcase their quality lamb in the competition which was open to all breeds.

Lambs were judged on the hook at an Alliance plant for Best Overall Yield with the best from each class from the North Island and the South Island taste tested at Christchurch’s Royal New Zealand Show last Wednesday. The loin rack from each semi finalist was cooked and taste-tested in front of Show crowds by Christchurch chef Gary Miller. Judges included celebrity chef, food writer and food commentator Annabelle White, Anne Stanaway, Shavaugn Ruakere (Television Presenter), Lance Swain (chef), Ross Thomson (Promotions Manager Alliance Group) and Donald Wright (President Canterbury A&P Association).

The overall winner received a trophy, Show ribbon and cash prize of $1000. Second ($500) went to MR & RM McConachy from Featherson (Texel) and third ($300) went to Allan G & IM Paton from Christchurch (Texel Cross). Drafters also had the chance to win, with the Drafter of the winning lamb receiving a $200 wine hamper. The hamper went to Tony Johns from Rural Livestock. “The competition was an ideal performance indicator and opportunity for farmers from throughout the country to prove they are the best of the best. The results demonstrate that there is some quality lamb being produced in the country”, commented Mint Lamb Competition Convenor Tom Burrows.

 There was no entry fee for the competition; proceeds from the gift lambs will be credited to the Canterbury A&P Association to support the development of the Royal New Zealand Show.

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