After winning the 2017 Mint Lamb Competition, Paul Gardner had some simple advice for crowds gathered to watch the Taste Test Final at the Canterbury A&P Show.
When asked what the key was to winning the competition, Mr Gardner quipped “You need a good female.”
Mr Gardner and his wife Kay are more than qualified to dish out the advice – they are the only contestants to have won more than once in the 11-year history of the competition.
The Ashburton couple took out the 2017 win with a purebred Texel – the same breed they won with in 2014.
The Gardners exhibit at the Canterbury A&P Show every year with their Texel stud Kallara and believe Texels are perfect contenders to win the Mint Lamb Competition too: “They offer good yields, they’re easy growing, easy to look after and it’s lovely tasting lamb.”
For Mr Gardner entering the competition was less about the win and more about giving back, “It’s a gift lamb competition, so for us, it’s a way to give back the Canterbury A&P Association.”
The Gardners recently sold their farming operation and downsized to a 50-acre lifestyle block where they keep busy running a smaller flock of sheep.
Mr and Mrs Gardner’s lamb was judged the best out of a field of 66 entries and was awarded the Alliance Group Mint Lamb Competition Trophy, $1000, 2.5 litre Zolvix and Elanco Optiline Backpack and Drench Gun Applicator. Winners in each class were awarded $200, 2.5 litre Zolvix and Elanco Optiline Backpack and Drench Gun Applicator; second received $150; third received $100 and fourth received $50. A highest yield prize was awarded in each class too, with each winner receiving $250 cash and 2.5 litres of Zolvix.
Lambs from all over the country were judged on the hook at an Alliance plant for best overall yield, with the top four lambs in each class moving on to the tender test stage at Lincoln University before being taste tested at the 2017 Canterbury A&P Show.
The cuts of meat were cooked by leading New Zealand chef Graham Hawkes and taste tested in front of Show crowds by local chefs David Napier (Saggio di vino) and Mark McCracken (Comber Cuisine), EU Ambassador to New Zealand H.E. Bernard Savage and Hazlett Rural Livestock representative Tim Rutherford.
Overall Winner: Paul and Kay Gardner, Ashburton – Texel
Class 1 – Dual Purpose x Dual Purpose: 1st Sam Holland, Culverden – Romney/Texel; 2nd Marty Kelly, Waiau – Romney/Texel; 3rd Robert & Jean Forrester, Amberley – Romney/Il De France; 4th Marty Kelly, Waiau – Romney/Texel. Highest Yield – Robert & Jean Forrester
Class 2 – Dual Purpose Dam x Terminal Sire: 1st John & Rose MacKintosh, Greendale – Corriedale/Texel; 2nd Kevin Carr & Kath Murphy, Kumeu – White Dorper X; 3rd AJ & PJ Brosnan, Cave – Charollais/Perendale; 4th Chris Hampton, Rangiora – Suftex/Borderdale. Highest Yield – John & Rose MacKintosh
Class 3 – Terminal x Terminal: 1st Paul Gardner, Ashburton – Texel; 2nd Jo Morris, Palmerston North – Dorper X; 3rd Jo Morris, Palmerston North – Dorper X; 4th Andrew Sidey, Hawarden – Poll Dorset/Texel X. Highest Yield – Paul and Kay Gardner