The 2023 Great Yorkshire Show, England’s largest agricultural event, did not disappoint. Held on the purpose built show ground in my old home town of Harrogate, where I used to walk my dogs when the show wasn’t on, the four-day extravaganza is a blend of old and new, traditional and innovative. I wanted to share my experiences, our important awards wins, and why this huge event is an important date in the calendar for farmers and producers and a must-visit for all of you too.
Artisanal Food, Cheese and Dairy Galore
Let’s start with our home ground for the week - The Food Hall! It is a paradise for food lovers, boasting hundreds of local and regional products, ours included. Deliciously Yorkshire had a stand this year, they’re the local regional food group and they launched the new brand which was exciting. This year, a big draw was the Cheese & Dairy Show. The show is an ode to the rich dairy heritage of Yorkshire, the North-West and across the UK - the overall winning cheese was from Dewlay Cheeses in Lancashire with their Creamy Lancashire and the cheeses were judged by esteemed cheese and diary experts from across the whole of the UK. The standard of products on show, their complex, unique flavours, quality of the presentation were testament to the depth of quality Yorkshire dairy and British and continental cheese-making and it’s so wonderful to see it showcased at the Great Yorkshire Show. We even have a class where the cow, sheep or goat is milked on the show ground and the milk brought straight for judging!
We were also lucky to have had a visit from Matt Baker MBE and his lovely wife Nicola, they have been great supporters of the show and they came to have a look round the Cheese & Dairy Section and to announce the winners of the Consumer Choice Competition. We were proud to win Gold & Silver in the Consumer Choice Blue Cheese class with Harrogate Blue and Yorkshire Blue respectively and beating off stiff competition from French and UK Blue Cheeses.
Katie picking up the award for ‘Best Yorkshire Product’
Agriculture on Display
Agriculture is the vital beating heart of the Great Yorkshire Show, and this year was no different. One of the primary highlights was the live animal shows. From the best in British cattle (some of which were shown by my 14 year old niece, Liv) to prized poultry, sheep and pigs, every species had its day in the spotlight. I was amazed by the variety of breeds on display , the heavy horses were just stunning, and the care and dedication of their keepers and the stock men is just awe inspiring.
The show also served as a crucial platform for sharing knowledge about cutting-edge farming practices. There was a special emphasis on sustainability this year, aligning with the global trend towards more sustainable and climate-friendly agricultural practices. The sheep shearing demonstrations, for example, were not only a fascinating spectacle but also an educational experience, explaining how wool production fits into sustainable farming models.
Rural Crafts and Skills
The country’s craft heritage was on vivid display at the show. From traditional blacksmithing to intricate wood carving, it was a delight to see these crafts being kept alive and even innovated upon. The skill and patience required for these crafts were awe-inspiring and the goods produced were of exceptional quality.
Katie, Peter Wright & Caroline - Peter was our vet, and saw us grow up on the farm as he visited us for our farm animals and pets. He told us at the show that he remembers coming to our farm before he was even fully qualified - it's a special relationship you develop over the years with your vet, especially with someone as compassionate as Peter.
Show Jumping and Other Attractions
The show jumping competition was a crowd favourite - I even managed to catch the end of the famous “Cock of the North” competition this year and my childhood best friend Paul Barker, made the final round! Besides this, there were a plethora of other attractions including sheep dog trials for the first year, vintage machinery displays, falconry demonstrations, and even fashion shows celebrating British wool.
Honouring Rural Life
The 2023 Great Yorkshire Show is to be treasured as a significant reminder of the importance of rural communities and traditions. It celebrates the hard work of farmers, breeders, and artisans who sustain our food systems and preserve our rural heritage. The show is also special as it allows urban visitors to connect with the realities of country life, helping bridge the gap between city and countryside.
The 2023 Great Yorkshire Show was a magnificent showcase of all things rural. It was an opportunity to connect with the land, appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship of rural life, and explore the delights of British agriculture and food. The dates for next year's show have already been marked on all of our calendars (July 9th - 12th). We'll be there in the Food Hall and with our stand in the Cheese & Dairy Section - it is the one event in the year that’s not to be missed.