2017-04-26   facebooktwitterrss

Red Rose Butchers Head to White Rose Mart

Red Rose retail butchers are increasingly mounting cross-border forays to Skipton Auction Mart in neighbouring North Yorkshire to meet growing demand from their customers for locally reared prime beef cattle and lambs.

Family-run Lancashire butchers are now buying primestock on a weekly basis at Skipton, among them show champions and prizewinners shown by farmers from both sides of the border who sell their cattle and lambs at the White Rose livestock hub on a Monday. And they often pay top whack to ensure they source the best meat that money can buy.

Countrystyle Meats Farm Shop

Countrystyle Meats Farm Shop

The emphasis for all is on traceability and quality. The butchers then work their magic to produce first-rate beef and lamb roasts, steaks, chops and all the other popular cuts. In fact, they all make use of the full carcase, keen to ensure that absolutely nothing goes to waste.

In turn, Skipton-bought beef and lamb is going down well with discerning butcher customers across the border, who these days increasingly want to know where the meat they eat actually comes from.

Countrystyle Meats Farm Shop, based on Wyresdale Road in Lancaster Leisure Park, first started buying primestock at Skipton last November and is now sourcing from the mart on virtually a weekly basis.

In fact, the shop’s owner Alan Beecroft, who regularly travels to Skipton to first view, then buy the cattle and lambs that catch his eye, was invited to judge the March prime cattle show and followed up by buying his chosen champion, shown by the Critchley farming family from Hutton, near Preston. Other prize winners regularly feature on Countrystyle Meats’ shopping list.

Mr Beecroft said:
“While we continue to source meat from local farms in our neck of the woods, I am personally buying at Skipton more and more often. There’s plenty of choice and the quality is good. When it comes to cattle, we prefer prime heifers, while I am also now buying in new season Spring lambs in increasing numbers. The fact is that our customers like what I buy from Skipton and the meat is selling well.

“I’ll continue to support the mart 100% because I do believe in the fair trade it provides. I am also keen to support local farmers from both sides of the border and a lot of them are following me down to Skipton. If they are getting, for example, an extra 20p per kilo it can make a real difference to them. It all adds up.”

A lifelong butcher, Mr Beecroft, who previously owned and ran a butchers’ shop in Clitheroe, established Countrysyle Meats Farm Shop over a decade ago. It has since gone from strength to strength, with a new on-site restaurant a recent addition to the business, which attracts customers from across the Ribble Valley.

Customers at Hamlets Butchers in Garstang have also developed a taste for Skipton-bought beef and lamb, and owner Tim Hamlet late last year bought the supreme champion prime lambs at the mart’s annual high profile festive primestock shows.

They came from Fox Farms in Withgill, near Clitheroe, and were so well received by customers at the Church Street shop that Hamlets returned at the opening 2017 show in January to snap up a second champion pen, which came from another Lancashire farmer, Grindleton’s James Towler. Other prime cattle and lamb purchases have followed on a regular basis.

“We know what will be coming up for sale at the mart and that’s good for us. It’s all about having the right goods. It’s all good stuff and we only want the best,” said farmer’s son Mr Hamlet, who established his shop in 2005. As well as the meat side of the business, Hamlets is also renowned for its home-made pies.

Meat men from north-west Lancashire are also making a beeline for the mart. Edwards Farm Butchers in Padiham Road, Burnley, supplements its own farm-reared beef with both prime cattle and lambs bought at Skipton.

“Quality is the main criteria for us. We have to buy the best. Traceability is also very important. You build up relationships with farmers who take livestock into the market. You get to know them and you know the quality will be right,” explained Gordon Edwards, who runs the farm side of the business at High Mount Farm in nearby Higham.

He currently has a 150-head herd of suckler cattle and some quality stock bulls that produce a nice cross-section of Limousin, Aberdeen Angus and Piemontese ‘beefers’ that are sold in the shop, adding others, along with lambs, from Skipton as and when required, prize winners among them

Previously, Gordon’s father, Derek Edwards, ran a butchers shop in Nelson for 20 years, while his son, Nathan, is at the helm of the Burnley shop, opened in 1982 and extensively refurbished later the same decade.

Another farming and butchery business to take home Skipton prime lambs is Whitehead’s, an award-winning fourth generation family butcher and delicatessen based in Edgworth, between Blackburn and Darwen.

While raising Charollais-cross lambs on its own 70-acre farm just a mile down the road, David Whitehead is often to be seen at Skipton sourcing Continental-cross lambs for the family-run Blackburn Road shop, which is now in the hands of his son and daughter, Stephen Whitehead and Sarah Grundy.

“As well as quality, confirmation is also very important to us. You get to know the farmers who are rearing and feeding the lambs, so we know we are getting them off the right men,” said Mr Whitehead, who is now aged 82 and still going strong.

In fact, he was born above the current shop, which was established way back in 1885 by his own grandfather. Whitehead’s own farm, The Wellbeing Farm, also acts as a wedding venue, for which the shop supplies all the meat.

Not a million miles away, DA Gregory & Sons Butchers in St James Street, Bacup, has for around a decade been buying prime cattle at Skipton, preferring British Blue-cross heifers and steers for the quality, texture and eatability of their meat.

The business is run by the Gregory family - Derek, Ann, Philip and Garry – and Philip judged one of this year’s monthly prime cattle shows at Skipton, returning home with his chosen reserve champion, a locally reared British Blue-cross heifer.

“They look after us well at Skipton and always have a good selection of cattle from which we can readily cherry pick the prime cattle that carry the meat our customers prefer,” said Mr Gregory.

Gregory’s also has its own farm in nearby Weir, raising Beltex and Texel-cross prime lambs for sale in the shop, which was established by Mr Gregory’s father, Derek, over 50 years ago,

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link Large Entry of Ewes & Lambs at Skipton
link Another Super Saturday at CCM Skipton