Butchers to look out for

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A butcher is for life not just for Christmas

Posted on: Dec 10 2012

Pictured: Meat Christmas Tree decorated by butchers with garlands of chipolata sausage, streaky bacon tinsel, baubles of traditional faggots and black pudding rings and topped with streaky bacon star. Top photo: Manager and Butcher at Hutchinson’s of Ripley, Nick Allen. Bottom photo (left to right): Peter Buck, Owner and Master Butcher of Hutchinson’s of Ripley, and his Manager and Butcher, Nick Allen.
 

As the season of feasts approaches, The Meat Crusade is asking shoppers to support their butchers for life and not just for Christmas.

Going to the butcher is a part of preparing for Christmas that we all enjoy. There’s something satisfying about buying a turkey, ham or rib roast that feels special and gives you confidence that your family is getting something of exceptional quality for their Christmas dinner.

John Penny, Yorkshire Farmer and Meat Wholesaler, explains, “We all flock to the butcher at Christmas because we want the best we can buy for our family. We forget we can buy the best from the local butcher all year round. Visiting a good butcher shouldn’t be a once a year occasion, it should be a once a week routine.”

“Butchers need your support now more than ever. If the decline continues, the High Street butcher will go the way of the fishmonger—only a handful of shops will remain and the art of butchery will be lost for generations.”

“That’s why The Meat Crusade wants shoppers to know that if we fail to support our butchers throughout the year, you might find that many won’t be able to open their doors next Christmas.”

The domination of the large faceless retail chains has already contributed to the considerable decline in butchers – there were approximately 22,000 high street butchers in the mid1980s. This fell to just 6,553 in 2010, according to Ed Bedington, Editor of the Meat Trades Journal.

John adds; “Consumers have the power to change demand for products but if we don’t step up to do the right thing, very shortly our purchasing choices could contribute to the disappearance of our high street butchers altogether.”

Peter Buck of Hutchinson’s of Ripley, butcher for 55 years, says, “There’s no reason why customers shouldn’t be supporting butchers and purchasing quality meat from us all year round. There’s a perception that shopping at the supermarket is cheaper, but actually in many cases, butcher’s meat is better value as well as considerably better quality.

“We are encouraging shoppers to make a change – it is in their hands to ensure the high street butcher is here for future generations to enjoy. Don’t abandon the butcher; make it your New Year’s resolution to support them.”
 

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Jay Rayner

The award winning Observer Food Critic and One show journalist.

Jay currently chairs the new Radio 4 food panel show, The Kitchen Cabinet, having recently appeared as judge on Masterchef and The Great British Waste Menu, and hosted Channel 4's magazine show Food: What Goes in your Basket?

Now, more than ever, we need to know where our meat is coming from, and your local butcher is best placed to give you that vital information. There is no substitute for buying your meat from the people who sourced it. They are the ones who know how it was raised, how it was slaughtered and how best to cook it. If we lose our local butchers we lose an irreplaceable part of the food chain.

Brian Turner

A popular face on our TV screens, Yorkshire-born Brian’s career started in less glamorous circumstances - cooking breakfasts at his dad's transport café.

Your local butcher really cares about the meat he sells and the people he sells to. He deserves your support- let’s not lose him now.

Tom Parker Bowles

Tom is a food writer and broadcaster with a weekly column in The Mail on Sunday and is Food Editor at Esquire magazine.
His books include E Is For Eating – An Alphabet of Greed, The Year of Eating Dangerously and Full English; A Journey Through the British and Their Food. He also co-presented Market Kitchen on Good Food Channel and presented LBC Radio's Food and Drink Programme.

The steady loss of our local butchers is cause for serious alarm. Just 2 months back my favourite butcher, Kingsland and Son, fell victim to a fierce rent hike and was forced to move out. The whole area is still reeling from the loss. Because butchery is both art and science. Not just in the physical act of separating different cuts from a carcass, but the wealth of knowledge any serious butcher has; where the meat comes from, how long the beef was hung, what cuts are better suited to braising than roasting. Support your local butchers. For the sake of the community, and your taste buds too.

Joanna Blythman

Joanna Blythman is Britain’s leading investigative food journalist and an influential commentator on the British food chain. She has won four Glenfiddich awards for her writing, including a Glenfiddich Special Award for her first book, The Food We Eat, a Caroline Walker Media Award for Improving the Nation’s Health by Means of Good Food, and a Guild of Food Writers Award for The Food We Eat.

We need to cherish the excellent traditional butchers who have kept going valiantly in the teeth of the supermarket takeover of our food chain. As the Meat Crusade puts it, if one in 10 of us returned to our local butcher that would be make a real difference. And if one in five of us did so, even once a week, it could start a revolution.

Rosemary Shrager

Rosemary Shrager, talented TV chef and cookery school teacher, is renowned for her role on reality TV show, Ladette to Lady. Rosemary has worked for Pierre Koffman at the famous Tante Claire restaurant in London and also for super chef Jean-Christophe Novelli.

Rosemary’s TV career began with series Rosemary – Castle Cook, followed by Rosemary on the Road, both for Channel 5. She is now a familiar face on ITV, following up her Rosemary Shrager's School For Cooks series with regular appearances on The Alan Titchmarsh Show.

It is so important to support butchers, if we do not then they will go and then we really will miss them. These people know where all their food has come from, generally sourcing everything from the local area’s farmers. Support for your butcher is support for the wider farming community.