Bravo for Butchers

From Field to Fork: Aldersons at bridgnorth

Provenance has never been more important. And Artisan butcher Keith Alderson has the edge over his Shropshire competitors.

For Keith can, quite literally, tell you the field in which his beef was reared. He can even tell you the name of the cow.

Keith, whose butcher;s shop is in Bridgnorth, farms his own beef herd within three miles of his shop.

"We tend to leave the cows out for two summers, then bring them in.

"We mature for longer than most. It's usually four or five weeks, though at Christmas we can go to six. That gives the meat a really deep, rich flavour. It's the best it can be."

Keith flavours native breeds, ensuring his beef is loaded with flavour.

" We have top quality Hereford Cross and Aberdeen Angus beef. We like the fact that they're native breeds and they also have just a bit more fat. They hang beter and the customer gets a better product. We feel we're doing it right."

Provenance is also key when it comes to pork and lamb. Keith buys his pork from his brother-in-law's farm, at Stourton.

"The Needs family produces our pork and it's delicious. They're not far away. It's all about high standards of animal welfare, low food miles, showing the animals respect and presenting our customers with great quality meat.

"The lamb comes from Bridgnorth, too. It's all local. Why would we buy from elsewhere. we've got everything we need right on the doorstep!"

Aldersons have a discerning clientele and people travel from far and wide to buy from them. The shop doesn't just serve Bridgnorth, it also welcomes regular visitors from the Black Country, from Much Wenlock and Shrewsbury and from parts of South Shropshire.

"We get people travel from all around. It never ceases to amaze me. I'll be talking to people across the counter and they'll tell me where they're from. And i'll be stunned that they've travelled so far. We have a really discerning group of customers; they really know what they're talking about. But i suppose it's because we've got a good reputation and people trust us. We combine traditional working practices with a modern-day approach to business.

"We've got an experienced team of staff and put the requirements of customers at the top of their priority list, with each enquiry -  whether from a private or trade customer - being given individual attention. Although our attitude to customers may be reminiscent of another era, our approach to the preparation, presentation and sale of meats is completely up-to-date."

Keith founded his business in 1981 and his shop is located in the heart of prime stock country and only sells local produce.

"We firmly believe that the meat produced in thie area is as good as can be found anywhere in Emgland."

They cure their own bacons, make their own sausages and recently bought a dining pub, The Woodberry Inn, where they can sell the best of local food.

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