Some Pig: Kentucky Prize Winning Ham fetches $350k

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BY RL REEVES JR

Martie Templeton, left, general manager of Harper’s Country Hams of Clinton, Ky., is honored by Agriculture Commissioner James Comer after the Harper’s ham Templeton is holding was named 2013 grand champion of the Kentucky State Fair. (Photo by Chris Aldridge, KY Ag.)

In its 50th year,  the Kentucky Country Ham Breakfast and Auction in August saw a sell out crowd of 1600 people pack the Expo Center at the state fair grounds in Louisville, Kentucky to dine on a feast for the ages.

Trenchermen one and all, the collective eaters powered through 5,400 eggs, 400 gallons of milk, 30 gallons of sorghum, 20 gallons of honey, and 450 pounds of country ham harvested from good, honest pigs,  purely of Kentucky provenance.

I would’ve given anything to have been there as country ham flows freely through my veins.

At the first charity auction way back in 1963, the prize ham sold for $124. That would be the equivalent of $919 in 2013.

 At the 50th event, the ham, donated by Harper’s Country Hams of Clinton, Kentucky, brought in $350,000. That’s over $26,000 per POUND! This was not just any ham either. It competed against hams from across the Commonwealth last week, and was dubbed Grand Champion of all hams at the Kentucky State Fair.

This grand champion ham, all 13+ pounds of it, will be feasted upon by Dare To Care, a Louisville Kentucky food bank created in 1969.

Yum! Brands submitted the winning bid of $350,000 which will be allocated to Fund For The Arts, USA’s oldest united arts fund.

In 2010, the grand champion ham brought in $1.6 million dollars! That ham was supplied by the legendary Broadbent’s of Kuttawaw, Kentucky.

Kentucky native and Ace contributing food writer RL Reeves Jr blogs at scrumptiouschef.com. His forthcoming book is Eat Like a Turk in Istanbul.

This article also appears on page 12 of the September 12, 2013 print edition of Ace. Click to subscribe to the Ace e-dition (delivered to your inbox every Thursday), and read more Kentucky food and restaurant news.
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