As many of you,  especially I am guessing the self employed and small business owners would find, business and pleasure are often mingled. But if you weren’t at least a little in love with what you were doing then you would be crazy to be in business doing it !

Which found us on a family “staycation” in Norfolk visiting The Carleton Herd, a small herd of Red Poll not far from Norwich. Conservation grazed on river meadows, these beasts tick all our boxes, native breed, lovingly, slowly and naturally reared on non-arable land, fed on mixed pastures, small groups, local abattoir, non intensive, low input and all those other fuzzy words which do add up to what we believe is spectacular tasting, healthy meat with low environmental impact. 
Robert one of the owners, two friends and neighbours have paired up to be able to best utilise the boggy areas around the river running through their properties, drove us around in his Ute to see the farm, the Red Polls are lovely medium sized healthy looking animals which as Robert admiringly points out fit naturally in the flat Norfolk landscape. One of the heifers had calved last night, therefore changing her status to cow, a few calved quite a while back and some are obviously due to be mums very soon. A good-natured breed our 5mth old daughter has her first encounter with a bovine and seems pretty pleased by it. The guys chose to let the heifers mature properly before allowing them to get pregnant so that they need less help with birthing.
We see different areas at different stages of the grazing process a very promising sign as it is a clear indication of the animals being rotated through the paddocks, so the beasts get a great diet, developing depth of flavour in the meat and the flora, fauna and soil have a chance to regenerate. This rotation of animals is a key aspect of conservation grazing and one whole heartedly endorsed by Graham Harvey in his excellent book, Carbon Fields.  
Red Poll are a local dual purpose (Milk and beef) breed for those based in East Anglia, previous Red Poll meat we have eaten could be describe as “buttery” and is beautifully succulent and tender. Technically this difference in taste and exceptional succulence comes down to the size of capillaries apparently, though as always, it needs to be well fed and raised animal or all the breeding in the world wont save it.
With bloodlines of a right royal pedigree including beasts from The Queen’s Sandringham Estate and a prize winning bull we hope you will get a chance to pop in over the next few weeks to try some Carleton Herd Red Poll. As we were lucky enough to get two steers killed on 4th July 2012 they have been aging nicely in The Butchery’s meat locker. With only 25 cattle killed a year they are a rare and tasty treat. Last week we had some very juicy, tender, sweet flavoured steak, this week with a little more age we think the beefiness will start to show depending on the cut you choose. If you’re a regular, a great chance to taste the same beef over a few weeks of aging and also think about the terroir of meat, a lot of our beef currently comes from Dorset, Devon and Herefordshire, how do these East Anglian raised beasts differ ? We talk about it in grapes and wine, is it not just as appropriate for properly raised meat ?

Clarissa Dickinson Wright of Two Fat Ladies fame had this to say about Red Poll beef  “An exquisite and unique flavour from mature meat of a very individualistic old breed. Try it!
What do you think ?
This seems as good a chance as any to introduce you to Compassion In World Farming an organisation we have been following for quite a while now and especially their latest report on the advantages, other than taste (we will let you be the judge of that as it is so individual) of eating this type of meat. 
Well Saturday 26th November will be our 3rd Saturday trading at Maltby St Market, specifically in 1 Ropemaker Walk with the very supportive and welcoming Ham and Cheese Co and The Kernel Brewery.

It has a been a hectic ride, with quite a few challenges still to come, including preparing our permanent space where we are currently doing the production, a little further east down the railway tracks ready for the grand opening early next year.

But this is an update promised to many of you about what we will be serving this week. 

Beef will be a combination of some very nicely 42 day dry aged Traditional Hereford from Farmer Tom in Herefordshire and a new one for us, Red Poll from Suffolk, succulent and well marbled this is the “beef of old England”. Originally from East Anglia the breed made it’s first herd book in 1874. Red polls are excellent foragers allowing the animals to graze naturally on mixed pastures and shrub land developing a great flavour for us to graze on. Also a fab milk producer this is the just the sort of animal we should be "eating to keep", and have been, with the Red Poll having made a successful comeback from a small herd of only 800 breeding ladies.

"An exquisite and unique flavour from mature meat of a very individualistic old breed. Try it! " - Clarissa Dickinson Wright

Lamb is another Suffolk this week, a native breed rather than an a rare-breed these also come from farmer Tom of the Traditional Herefords and have led such a happy pasture-fed existence and are so tasty we can’t resist.
Mutton - the foggy weather has definlty meant it is time to pull out ther Le Creuset, slow cooker or whatever is your prefered method of creating comfort food and we have Sullolk Mutton for you also fromTom. Not always avaible and very often neglected by all, come and see hat you have been missing, fabulous for full depth of flavour mutton is lamb that is more than 24mths old when it goes to the slaughter house (or AltonTowers as Farmer Tom puts it). We love our cattle slowly raised (30months at least) on good pasture lets savour our sheep this way too. If its good enough for the Hairy Bikers, Hugh, Matt Tebbutt and Prince Charles maybe its good enough for you?

Pork is Tamworth this week - The good old Ginger just like the butcher, originally a Midlander ours is from Herefordhsire this week. The Tamworth was bought back to the UK for it's revival from Australian breeding stock. Pork from the Tamworth is renowned in pig cirlces for coming first by a full pig length in a ‘taste test” by Bristol University.  

Bacon -  for a first the first appearance this week week, we have of some Gloucester Old Spot bacon,  green and smoked, streaky and back so come and get it sliced to order for you on our very ancient big old Berkel Slicer. Is it bad that owning one of these has been a long time fantasy? Eventually we will be doing our own bacon from start to finish but in t he meantime we have sourced this great rare breed bacon as it’s not really a butcher shop unless we stock the secret vegetarian conversion weapon is it ?

Sausages from Gloucester Old Spot - this is a tough one (not the actual sausages I hope) We are making our own from scratch using meat from the same rare breed pork we are serving in the cabinet each week, a standard if you are going to be able to do proper whole carcass nose to tail butchery. But we also dont want to add rusk and all the “E” numbers and anti-caking agents that invloves. Most sausages have small to large amounts of rusk in them - this binds the meat together and soaks up the fat as you cook creating texture and keeping the moistness of the fat within the sausage.  Whilst our sausages are bulging with fab pork (a little beef too in the Kilebasa), fresh herbs and spices they do not have rusk, and so we are still tweaking the recipe each week a little to we find perfection for you. Kielbasa and Zingy Herb and Garlic up for grabs this week.

Chicken and one lonely Cockerel - So far our Fosse Meadows chickens have had many great comments and even repeat customers (pretty good we thought after only 2 weeks) so they will be happlily in the cabinet again alongside soemthing a bit special. For Christmas we plan on stocking Cockerel, also from Fosse Meadows, so those of you still debating what to put on the Christmas table you might find a cockerel the perfect answer. An uncastrated male chicken, tradionally used to make Coq Au Vin or for long slow roasting. A great alternative to the turkey, just a touch smaller msking it easier to cook and with serious flavour. 

Hope to see you Saturday and thanks to everyone that has dropped by already. Christmas orders will be taken from next week.