It’s a busy time of year for Ludlow Food Centre – as well as thinking ahead to the treats that Christmas will bring us, even the most seasoned of foodies are excited by the prospect of autumn’s tantalising offerings, and the celebrations of great food that lie ahead.
Voted as the UK’s Food Hall of The Year in April’s Farm Shop & Deli awards, Ludlow Food Centre brings together seasonal produce, artisan food production and local fare under one roof. Having also been awarded five gold stars by the Guild of Fine Food in July, it continues to make waves in the speciality food industry. And all of this makes for a particularly exciting few months.
With Ludlow Food Festival 2016 just around the corner, we speak to Ludlow Food Centre’s Head Butcher, John Brereton, about how he and his team are gearing up for the busy festival season…
September’s nearly here – how are you feeling?
I’m feeling great – the butchery’s going from strength to strength, and we have a great team who work incredibly hard throughout the year. It puts us in a good position for the increase in number of customers during Ludlow Food Festival, and we’re looking forward to keeping up with demand throughout these few months.
How has the summer been for you and your team?
Summer is a brilliant opportunity for each member of our team to showcase their skill and knowledge, which we hope is always passed on to our customers. We all club together and make the most of everyone’s strengths. Andrew, who joined us an apprentice in 2008, manages the team in my absence, as well as creating an abundance of products for the counter. Jess, another of our apprentices, is learning more as she completes her NVQ Level 3. So it’s a great time for everyone.
What’s the sure sign of a good butchery product?
I think provenance is absolutely everything. For us to be able to sell meat that’s reared here on the Oakly Park Estate is a real privilege. It’s always a pleasure to let people know exactly where their meat has come from, and for us to have the answers to their questions. Provenance, knowledge and skills behind the counter are so important today.
Oakly Park Estate
We’re optimists, and are always crossing our fingers for a bit more barbecue weather…do you have any tips for a great barbecue?
Many people are tempted to cook their meat on as high a temperature as possible, to achieve that ‘flame-grilled’ finish – but this often means that products end up burned, tough and even undercooked. If you’re cooking with coal, always make sure the coals are white before placing your meat on the griddle, and tend to it regularly. Keep it simple.
What’s next for the butchery team?
The finishing touches have just been made to a brand new fridge dedicated solely to our charcuterie products. This means we’ll have much more space to expand our range as the months go on. Our charcuterie’s been hugely popular, and adds diversity to our more traditional cuts and products. I’m really excited to see how this changes how we work. And after summer’s out of the way, we’ll be focussing on Christmas! It’s a scary thought, but it always needs as much forward planning as possible – from staff, to orders and coping with demand. We’ll be taking orders for Christmas very soon, so keep up to date on our website and social media.
Ludlow Food Centre Butchery Team
Visit Ludlow Food Centre's fantastic stall at the Festival or call in and see them at the Food Centre itself on the A49 in Bromfield, outside Ludlow.