A month or so ago I was talking on the phone to Julian, a butcher, who was vaguely interested in buying my organic beef and lamb. Having got the business bit out of the way we went on to chew the fat, discussing what effect credit-crunchie-rescessional times were having on the food buying public and in particular on top quality organic produce.
“Do you ever sell privately?” Julian asked
“Yes, yes I do. But not like I used to.” I went on to explain that I’d sold my business a couple of years ago, though I still supplied some of my loyal and special customers. “And it seems to be building up again!”
“Do you ever need a cutter…a butcher?” he asked
“Not really as I still use my original butchers. They know my system as we worked together for years. But saying that, I also know they find it time consuming and a bit of a pain now. Why?”
“Well, I launched the Bike…” I interrupted him in mid-flow
“The Biker Butcher! The organic licensed motor biking butcher. I know, I know! I saw a flyer. It came with some of the Soil Association bumph, I think. I remember thinking at the time what a great idea. Lots of possibilities and potential. It certainly grabbed my imagination. How’s it going?”
Apparently after an initial favourable reaction and lots of enthusiasm everything went rather quiet. Julian’s been doing the odd bit of butchery for a few farmers, but not what he’d hoped.
We nattered on contemplating all kinds of interesting scenarios. “I know” I said “why don’t you come up when I next have lambs going off. I need a couple for myself. You could cut those and we could chat.”
And that’s what happened today. This glorious afternoon Julian, and his partner Maria, whisked down the drive on their motorbike complete with all the tools of the trade. I’d put up a trestle table in the kitchen and in no time Julian was skilfully and carefully cutting and butchering my lambs. Shanks, tender rump joints, racks, Guard of Honour, neck fillets, shoulders, legs, chops – with a bit of French butchery thrown in as a practise run for my French lamb export exploits!
We talked about all manner of possibilities and opportunities from communal cutting rooms to training and educational courses. The problems to be faced and the many benefits gained. It was interesting and I’m sure good things will come of it. BBC Countryfile are filming him this coming week too
In the meantime we have some mouth-watering lamb to enjoy – if supper was anything to go by!