Kitson and Sons Butchers is set to beef up this year’s Valentine’s celebrations by serving up meat from some of the best cattle in the country at its three shops in North Yorkshire and Cleveland.
Owner Anthony Kitson created history last year when buying the overall supreme champion beef cattle at all three of the country’s principal Christmas primestock shows – the English Winter Fair, the Royal Welsh Winter Fair and LiveScot.
For good measure, he had earlier also secured the champion bullock from the high profile 2016 East of England Smithfield Festival in Peterborough.
It is believed to be the first time that an independent family-run butchers has achieved this unique four-timer.
Mr Kitson said: “Having bought a total of 116 prime cattle from across the country for our customers’ 2016 Christmas tables, we decided to retain the four principals until the New Year for our Valentine’s trade.”
They have been further improved by regular customers, the Atkinson family, from Beck Hill Farm, Scorton, who look after cattle for Kitsons and from whom the business also sources prime lambs on a weekly basis.
Mr Kitson recently hosted a visit from LiveScot champion Wilson Peters, from Cuilt in Perthshire, and English Winter Fair champion James May, of Bromsgrove, joined by officials from both organisations.
Following a tour of Kitsons’ Northallerton shop, the party enjoyed lunch at Thirsk Auction Mart, before journeying to JA Jewitt Meats’ abattoir at Middlestone Moor, Spenymoor, where the four carcases were hanging.
The group, joined by Jewitt’s Michael Jewitt, then compared notes to choose their own personal overall “Great British Beef” champion – awarding the crown to the LiveScot victor.
Mr Kitson said: “To be fair, there wasn’t a lot in it, but when I put the knife through them we all concurred that the Scottish title winner just got the nod because of the colour, lushness and richness of the flesh, coupled with the flecking of the fat, and desirability and saleability of the meat, which is the single most important factor as far as we are concerned.”
All four champions are now being fully matured to ensure the meat – roasts, steaks and all the other popular cuts – is in perfect eating condition ready for Valentine’s Day.