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March 15, 2013

Last year I worked my way right through HFW’s River Cottage Veg book. Perhaps that’s not the best way to start a piece about local butchers but it is significant – believe me.

A couple of times recently when I have tweeted about people not using the supermarket for all their shopping I have had sarcastic responses about not everyone being able to afford to use a local butcher.

Gone are the days of the past when I would go and buy half a lamb or a full sirloin etc to jam the freezer full of meat. That was the 80’s for me. We buy less meat than ever now but the quality is so much better than from the supermarket and I am including poultry in this. The problem is a lot of people don’t know how to cook cheaper pieces of meat anymore or how to make the most of a little.

Eat less meat but better quality you can trust.

A free range chicken from a good butcher yields more meat and taste than any I’ve had from a supermarket. It can provide a Sunday dinner, a pie on Monday and soup for lunch on Tuesday.

If there’s just the two of us for a Saturday breakfast treat I can buy four rashers of (great quality) bacon and four meaty sausages knowing none will be left to spoil at the back of the fridge. At the farmers markets I do buy a pack of sausages sometimes and Mr W is more than happy to have a cold sausage sandwich for lunch at work!

Our butcher of choice is Jeremy at Heathcotes “top shop” in Bollington, they have another shop down at the bottom of the village but it was the top one we used first and I love the fact it is like a butchers out of a children’s story book, set on its own with a display of fruit and vegetables outside under the striped awning. The blackboard displays the name of the farmer and the farm for each meat.

Heathcotes Butchers

Heathcotes Butchers

If I’m in Macclesfield I use Spearings at Park Green. They also make lovely pies. When my son was a trainee chef they sent him for work experience to Marshall at Spearings and he loved the pie making process and told us all about it so I’ve trusted them ever since. In my challenge of not buying from the supermarket they have also come in handy for local butter and cheese recently.

Over the winter I’ve used Prestbury Farm shop for their game (in addition to other groceries and veg) and they are being very proactive locally getting involved in arranging events, talks on meat and now a local farmers market planned for May at the Stags Head Great Warford.

Charlie and Debs at Prestbury Farm Shop

Charlie and Debs at Prestbury Farm Shop

Glebe Farm at Astbury sell mostly their own meat and everything we’ve had from there has been excellent. Their pork pies are particularly good!

So we may eat vegetarian based food most of the week and fish a couple of times a week but meat is still a very important part of our menu and when we eat it we want to know it is good!

Some other places we have tried around Cheshire are listed here notfromthesupermarket.


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