A tiny butcher's shop in rural Northumberland which sources
mainly locally-produced meats is earning a countrywide reputation
thanks to its new internet sales and award winning sausages.
|Charles and Camilla
in the shop with Morris during their visit to Rothbury.
And Rothbury Family Butchers had a 20-minute long
visit from local food sourcing enthusiast the Prince of Wales
and the Duchess of Cornwall when they were in the county recently.
Morris Adamson, who opened the shop at Townfoot, Rothbury
in 2000, employs a staff of only four where in confined premises
they manage to produce more than 30 varieties of sausages,
from conventional thin pork to more exotic blends including
pork, cranberry and Stilton and venison in red wine.
|Jimmy Bell, left,
and Maurice and ewes in lamb to the Texel at East Wingates
For the second year running Morris has sourced lamb from
Jimmy Bell at East Wingates Farm, Longhorsley, only five miles
away. Morris also sells free range chickens from Blagdon Farm
Shop, at Seaton Burn, near Morpeth and he stresses with his
orders to the Whitley Bay Meat Company for beef and pork that
they must be produced in Northumberland or the North East.
Morris, who with his wife Maria have three children, moved
to Rothbury in 1991 having been manager of the Co-op butchers
shop in his home town of Berwick-upon-Tweed.
"I firmly believe in buying locally," said Morris,
who as chairman of Rothbury and Coquetdale Business Club is
keen to support all local firms.
"I have a ready supply of lamb from 'The Lamb Man' Jimmy
Bell, buying up to eight carcases a week to produce all cuts
of meat from chops to leg of lamb - and lamb and redcurrant
"Our eggs are from Christon Bank and we buy rabbits,
pheasants and venison from Ponteland. Our exotic meats - which
include ostrich - are sourced from a firm in Duns, although
they are imported.
"Beef and pork are more difficult to find a regular
supply close at hand but I ask for North East produced carcases."
In October, Rothbury Family Butchers, members of the Guild
of Q Butchers, scooped seven Smithfield Awards which are among
the most prestigious in the meat industry.
Gold awards were given to three sausage varieties and a turkey
roast and two silvers and a bronze were awarded again to sausages.
Even the herbs used in the sausage recipes are supplied by
local customers from their gardens.
Sausages have so far proved the most popular with on-line
sales which began in the spring, although Northumbrian lamb
and exotic meats are also popular.
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall on a private visit
to Rothbury Family Butchers met Morris, Maria and the staff
when they took a look around the shop and chatted about the
At the end of the visit Morris and Maria's daughter Molly
presented the couple with some award winning sausages and
local Northumbrian lamb.
A letter sent after the visit from Clarence House, and now
framed by Morris, reads: "The Royal visitors were hugely
impressed by all you have achieved and delighted to have been
able to celebrate a traditional but with innovative edge high
Supplying Rothbury Family Butchers is an expansion of sales
for Jimmy Bell who also decided in 2000 to diversify the farming
business at East Wingates - the family has farmed in Northumberland
for 400 years.
At that time, Jimmy and his wife Kirsty decided to sell the
suckler herd and concentrate on lamb production and they now
run 1,000 Mule cross Texel ewes with their neighbour David
Ashbridge, producing three quarter Texel lambs.
Around 1,400 lambs are sold from August to March at farmers
markets at Morpeth, Tynemouth, Ponteland and Alnwick with
an average of 25 lambs being processed in the on-farm fully
licensed cutting room which was developed from redundant farm
buildings two years ago.
"We knew we had a good product because we regularly
topped the marts and local shows and a lot of the lamb was
being exported which we weren't very keen on. So to reduce
food miles and add value we set up the butchery," said
The upland unit is non-intensively farmed and was one of
the first in the North East to be entered into Countryside
Stewardship 15 years ago.
The Bells avoid using chemicals or pesticides on their farm
and they give the minimal amount of medicines to their sheep,
using homeopathic remedies where possible.
Lambs consistently grade E and U and the proof of their eating
quality is the recommendation from customers who say they
have never tasted better.
Now a butcher first and a farmer second, Jimmy is the only
one of his family left in agriculture.
The ewes lamb in March and the lambs are finished as naturally
as possible off grass until November when they are fed quality
concentrate from Varleys of Darlington.
Any surplus lambs not required for the business are sold
finished through Acklington Mart or as stores.
Until Christmas lamb is hung traditionally for 10 days with
this period being extended to two weeks in the new year.
Morris and Jimmy's websites are www.rothburyfamilybutchers.co.uk and www.thelambman.com
© Copyright 2006 Jennifer
MacKenzie All Rights
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