We like to buy top quality livestock and wherever possible as locally as we can. To this end we have developed strong, long standing ties with a number of local farms, as well as buying direct from livestock markets in the North East and North Yorkshire. These are some examples of our farming partners:
Pork – Mark Bradley’s rare breed Welsh
pigs from Hamsterley forest
If you’re looking for old-fashioned pork – packed with flavour and succulence, then Mark Bradley’s pork, farmed about 3 miles away as the crow flies on the edge of Hamsterley forest is hard to beat.
Mark farms the largest herd of pedigree Welsh sows in the country. This once-endangered breed is now much sought after for its excellent meat quality and good meat to fat distribution, making it the perfect butcher’s choice. Thompsons have a long history with Bradleys – stretching back three generations – they are key suppliers and many customers specifically ask for pork from Mark’s pigs.
The Welsh pig has excellent crossing potential and Mark’s sows are crossed with a commercial male line. The resultant progeny retain the Welsh’s placid temperament. There’s no need for teeth clipping or tail docking as the pigs grow up calm and unstressed in an environment where they have room to roam. The Welsh sows make excellent mothers and they seem to like the radio - Mark swears they enjoy listening to Radio 2!
Mark’s pigs are fed on a quality diet which has a direct impact on the quality of the meat – rather than joining the masses in a ‘least cost’ approach. William Thompson of York is the feed supplier, well known for their pioneering approach and formulation of feeds from quality raw materials. In a market where all too often minimum feed standards are applied, Mark is proud that he can tell you the ingredients making up his pigs diet.
Beef – Ken Coatsworth’s first class beef from West Rackwood Farm, Hamsterley
Ken’s something of an expert when it comes to producing great British beef and lamb through careful rearing on his farm 4 miles from us. His grass fed beef herd is mainly Limousin, with some Belgian Blue and Charolais. We take mostly heifers, due to the meat being better tasting with good marbling, just the right amount of fat cover and many customers find that the cuts from them are just the right size.
Ken also has a herd of traditional Mule ewes that he crosses with Suffolk Tups to produce superb lambs for us and we take all the finished lambs from his farm. For Ken the well-being of his animals is a top priority and he runs a quality operation – you’ll be hard-pushed to find better looking livestock or a tidier farm anywhere.
Lamb – Gerard Beveridge’s farm offers a
The Deerness Valley where Gerard farms with his son John and son-in-law Peter is a unique and remote landscape, which gives his sheep a green and peaceful environment in which to flourish. Together they farm the whole valley and due to its isolation they can be cut off for many days during the winter months with their 750-strong flock of Texel cross traditional Mule ewes.
We take nearly all of the lambs from the farm, which are some of the best reared and presented ones you could find anywhere. Gerard and his family take huge pride in doing things properly producing quality livestock. We would buy as many of these lambs as they can produce.
Gerard also produces top quality beef, mainly from Belgian Blues and Limousins. Their pedigree British Blue bull, Ridge Dean Dynamo – who comes from "the most improved British Blue herd in the country" (Eblex) – weighs in excess of a tonne and topped the sales when they bought him at auction.