Purston Lamb and Smith & Clay are featured in The Telegraph
The buzz continues… In The Telegraph last month (20 October) columnist and foodie William Sitwell wrote a major feature about eating meat in a mindful, sustainable way: “The best way to eat meat? Like Granny did” (it’s behind a paywall – full feature here). This is exactly what we always say: we don’t need to be eating meat every day but the meat we eat should be local, traceably provenanced, high welfare and top quality. Yes – that’s our lamb in the pic!
None of this is prohibitively expensive – any butcher worth his salt will use his local farmers, and in this country we are lucky to have high standards of care across the board. Look out for the Red Tractor logo, buy outdoor reared and make sure your produce is from the UK.
Brackley Butchers opens in Buckingham –
and becomes Smith & Clay
On 15 September we were proud to attend the Grand Opening of Smith & Clay in Buckingham. The busy event, which was attended by local luminaries and the Telegraph columnist William Sitwell, celebrated the mounmental effort it has taken to get this massive premises ready. Smith & Clay opened on the premises of what was originally Clays – Smith was added in memory of owner Margaret Behan’s mother, who was instrumental in supporting local British produce.
The place looks incredible – all great styling and sleek metro tiles, but the real proof of the pudding is in the great deli food, top-quality, local provenanced meat (including Purston Lamb of course!) and the customer reaction: more than 250 people on the first two days of trading.
Bravo Margaret, Robi, Stephen, Poppy and their teams!
Love Lamb week 2019
1-7 September is once again Love Lamb week, where the British farming community highlights the versatility, seasonality and sustainability of this meat. Launched by Cumbrian sheep farmer Rachel Lumley to recognise the UK’s incredible seasonality and sustainability of this meat, Love Lamb Week is a great opportunity to get cooking with this tasty and versatile meat.
We heartily agree with Rachel – and check out the fabulous recipe they’ve posted.
#LoveLamb #Love LambWeek
Brackley Butchers win the Countryside Alliance’s Butcher of the Year
We are enormously proud of our very special butcher, who won the ‘Rural Oscars’ in June this year, out of 17,000 nominations. They are an amazing, dedicated team who never miss a beat and it is so well deserved. They really care about the quality and provenance of their meat, and it shows in every bite.
The Awards are the Countryside Alliance’s annual celebration of British food, farming, enterprise and heritage through small businesses. The awards are now in their 14th year and have become the definitive rural business award to win. They are set apart from other award schemes because they are driven by public nomination, offering customers the chance to tell the public why their favourite businesses are worthy of national acclaim.
The judges stated: “Brackley Butchers combine the traditional skills of a butchery business with a modern, innovative approach to deepen local ties whilst educating and serving the local community. The team works hand in hand with other local businesses and producers who share their high standards to provide their customers with the highest quality meat which is locally sourced wherever possible.”
Robi writes on their blog: “The Countryside Alliance Awards are all about the rural community and local food which is right at the heart of our business. Quite simply, we could not do what we do without our relationships within our local area. From Newbottle Estate and Purston Lamb to Jilly who makes our cheese biscuits, we are very appreciative of our farmers, producers and other businesses who work tirelessly all year round to enable us to showcase the very best in local produce. We are also thankful to the many pubs and restaurants we work with who have made the choice to champion locally produced food. As we prepare for the next phase of our business with the opening of our new shop in Buckingham, we are looking forward to widening these relationships and are already meeting a wide array of new businesses who, sharing our ethos and passion, want to be involved.
And finally, we want to thank you, our customers, who nominated us in the first place. We work hard to ensure we deliver a business that you can be proud of. In turn, we are proud of our customers who make the decision to shop locally and, in doing so, are supporting the wider rural community. This award belongs to all of us and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
Mild spring equals easy lambing
Compared to last year, our lambing this year was easy-peasy. It was still physically demanding: late nights, early mornings and life-or death-dramas played out with quiet concentration on clean straw, but without the added complication of frozen water troughs, 4ft drifts of snow and trying to keep week-old lambs alive in a howling wind with a chill factor of -10. Tracy came to work by car not horse and David’s collies could find all the sheep and lambs by sight alone.
We all breathed a sigh of relief!
Buy our lamb direct from the farm. Come and meet us at the following fairs:
10 November: Tudor Hall School Fair, Banbury. 12-3.15pm
18 November: Carrdus School Fair, Carrdus, Overthorpe, Banbury. 10am-4pm
1 December: Winchester House Advent Fair, Brackley 10am-4pm
9 December: Christmas in Chippy, Town Centre, Chipping Norton. 12-6pm
Thank you for your support at Banbury
It was Banbury’s annual and highly successful food fair on Sunday 19 August, celebrating the wide range of high quality food and drink produced in the town and surrounding area, and provides a wonderful opportunity for people to experience the friendly and sociable atmosphere that accompanies eating and drinking.
Like us, many of the exhibitors were small, independent producers who specialise in non-supermarket type food, beer, wine and cider, and their stalls were supplemented by a great demonstration schedule, a Kids’ Kitchen, vintage tearooms and the celebrity chef Jean Christophe Novelli.
Jean Christophe was kind enough to stop by and check out our lamb and gave it his thumbs up!
We survived the Beast from the East!
It was all hands on deck last week as the frozen winds and head-high snow drifts added an extra dimension to lambing season. There’s no such thing as a #snowday in farming! The two Davids – farmer and shepherd – plus Tracy our lambing queen, were everywhere trying to feed the sheep on the hills and keep water troughs ice free (a losing battle), while still tending to the lambing ewes in the barn. The farm was completely cut off with a large drift at the bottom of the hill, but Tracy was so determined to come to work she actually rode here on her ‘cow horse’ Molly.
Knowing the weather was coming (a luxury farmers in the past would have given their eye teeth for), we hadn’t put any lambs out for a few days so all the ones in the fields were at least 10 days old and relatively weather toughened. The lambs hunkered down in the curves of our ancient ridge and furrow, creating their own little woolly snow drifts, while their tough mothers tried their best to keep grazing. When David appeared with breakfast to supplement the frozen grass, he was virtually knocked over in the riot of ovine excitement.
When the snow started to melt we all breathed a sigh of relief and life (and birth) went back to normal.
Food via direct mail is the way forward
In December, Country Life ran a feature about luxury foods delivered to your door. They’ve realised what we’ve known all along – supporting producers by buying directly from them is the way forward. Radio 4 did a big piece about it in the autumn and the movement is gathering momentum.
In our internet-enabled, anything-delivered society, buying food off the internet no longer seems strange. And indeed when it comes to specialist, seasonal or highly provenanced food it is absolutely the way forward. Want Cornish mackerel? Buy from the Cornish Fishmonger. Want truffles in season? Try Wiltshire Truffles. This way you can guarantee you are getting exactky what you expect, and without the supermarket premium. After all
As you might expect, I’m not a vegetarian. However people are always surprised when I meet them at farmer’s markets and agree that we should eat less meat. Your meat should be highly provenanced (I can show you the field your lamb came from), high welfare and treated with respect from beginning to end and reared by people who are getting a living wage. And if you order from us you get all of that, plus top quality meat at a very good price, and the warm glow of knowing you are directly supporting British farming and an independent family-run farm.
Step up and join the digital food revolution!
Come and meet us at the following fairs:
18 November: Carrdus School Fair, Carrdus, Overthorpe, Banbury. 10am-4pm
22 November: BHWC Christmas Fair. Poundon House, Bicester. 10am-9pm
25 November: Beachborough Bazaar, Beachborough, Westbury, Brackley. 10.30am-4pm
25-26 November: Sulgrave Manor Christmas Market, Sulgrave, Banbury. 11am-4pm
2 December: Winchester House Advent Fair, Brackley (TBC)
18 December: Christmas in Chippy, Town Centre, Chipping Norton. 4pm-9pm
Love Lamb Week
The sheep industry is being urged to come together to promote home-produced lamb during Love Lamb Week 2017.
The week, which is being supported by AHDB Beef & Lamb and the National Sheep Association (NSA), takes place from 1 to 7 September 2017. Launched last year by Cumbrian sheep farmer Rachel Lumley, Love Lamb Week is a great opportunity to encourage consumers to get cooking with this tasty and versatile meat.
Driven by farmers, Love Lamb Week 2016 gained support across the industry, catching the attention of the national press and broadcast media and getting interest from top chefs. The objective for this year is to make the campaign even more engaging and create opportunities for the whole supply chain to get involved.