A small Murchison butchery has brought home the bacon for the Nelson region after its middle bacon was judged New Zealand's best.
Murchison Meats was yesterday named the winner of the middle bacon section of the Lesnies 100 per cent New Zealand Bacon Competition.
Butchery owner Belinda Girl described the win as "the best thing ever".
"It is just good Kiwi bacon."
A message announcing the win to locals was hastily painted on the butchery's window with white paint when staff learned of the success.
More than 100 bacon producers from throughout the country entered the competition, which assessed bacon in four categories - middle, shoulder, streaky and Danish - against criteria including appearance, texture, shrinkage, smell and taste.
It was the first major competition the butchery had won.
"We thought we might get a merit award or a `well done', but we didn't think we'd take the top prize," Ms Girl said.
The butchery, which started in 1847, buys its pork from Harris Meats in Cheviot.
"It is as free range and grass-fed as you can get it," Ms Girl said.
Bacon maker John Borcovsky, whom Ms Girl bought the business from a few years ago, uses a honeydew cure and smokes the meat in manuka smoke.
"We don't have any fancy equipment, we are just a little butcher's shop in the back of beyond making the best bacon," Ms Girl said.
In recent years, small, independent butchers had been struggling to compete with the bigger chains, she said.
"But people are now heading back to the butchery because they want that traceability and sustainability."
The win would be a boost for the business, which already supplied customers in Motueka, Takaka and Richmond.
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