We all know the score; in order to avoid unwittingly munching on the runner-up from Chepstow, you need to buy your meat locally. Ask for a pound of mince from your butcher down the road and they’ll know exactly where that cow spent its days. Simple really. Add a few basic cookery skills and some veg to the pot and you’ve got a family meal that is healthy, free from horse AND cheap.
On that note we thought we’d tell you a bit more about the butchery at Gog Magog Hills Farm Shop. Because, one, we truly couldn’t have put on Eat Cambridge without their support and encouragement, but mainly because they are the perfect example of a local butcher with trusted meat suppliers. Plus head butcher Miles Nicholas and his team are the friendliest bunch you could ever find and they make shopping a pleasure.
Managing director at the farm, Charles Bradford takes great pride in the quality of the butchery. ‘We’re among many small businesses across the country that are dedicated and proud to be delivering consistently exceptional food,’ he says. ‘We’ve been hand-making sausages and burgers in front of customers for years so that you can truly see what goes into them. We only use high welfare beef and pork from farms that we know in short supply-chains, providing full traceability”.
So dedicated are they in their pursuit of providing local people with the very best, they recently travelled up to Harrogate for the National Farm Shop conference. There they were lucky enough to listen to celebrity food campaigner, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall discuss the subject. During the debate, Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall highlighted that ‘customers no longer want to buy anonymous meat of unknown origin. We must continue to show them what it is, where it came from, what it ate and how it lived.’ And as patron of FARMA, the National Farmer’s Retail and Markets Association, Mr F-W knows his stuff.
‘That is exactly what we provide at Gog Magog Hills,’ says Charles. ‘Ask us anything about our meat and we can tell you. Our butchers regularly visit our meat suppliers so they know everything there is to know.’
The proof is in the (meat) pudding, as they say and recently Gog Magog Hills Farm Shop was voted runner-up in the grand final of Butchers’ Shop of the Year 2012 and in the Observer Food Monthly’s 2012 National Food Awards for Best Independent Food Retailer. They were also awarded five golds at the 2012 Great Taste Awards for their home-produced foods including, of course, their superb Scotch eggs.
Not only is this bustling farm shop the main sponsor for Eat Cambridge and we love them for supporting us all the way, they are also putting on a range of events during the festival week. In fact, right now the butchers are busy trying out delicious new concoctions for their eggs-tra special Scotch egg week, where you will be able to try a new flavour every day. They will reveal more details on their wonderfully entertaining Twitter account, so follow them @gogmagogshop to keep up to date.
Of course you will also be able to try Gog Magog Hills’ range of Neal’s Yard Dairy British cheeses at our main event from 10.30am to 4pm. Expect a table laden with cheesy goodness and samples galore. Plus cheese-worshippers can listen to a talk on British cheese from a Neal’s Yard Dairy expert and a local cheesemaker at 11.30am at the Guildhall event.
Lastly, the team are working with the Pint Shop, a new beef, beer and bread venue due to open this spring, to put on a three-day pop-up restaurant at the farm. It has proved so popular that the Friday and Saturday nights are already sold out but you can grab the last few tickets for Thursday here: pintshop.eventbrite.co.uk. It’s going to an evening of great meat, fine beers and singing round the campfire.
For more info on the farm shop visit gogmagoghills.com.