National Butchers’ Week under way

National Butchers’ Week has got off to a flying start, with activities kicked off yesterday by Bucks Fizz star and butcher fan Cheryl Baker.

Speaking at the official launch of the week at the Foodex exhibition in Birmingham, Baker said: “As you all know, retail butchers are a vital part of a healthy high street. Not only do they offer an excellent product, but they offer advice and knowledge about meat, which customers just cannot get anywhere else.”

“With lots of families struggling to keep bills down, having experts who can advise on cheaper ways to cook has never been more important. Butchery can also offer a fantastic opportunity for youngsters to learn a skilled trade.

“National Butchers’ Week gives us all the opportunity to celebrate butchers’ skills and importance to the community.  There are events planned at butchers’ shops up and down the country and it sounds like it is going to be a great week.”

As always, UK butchers have risen to the challenge and organised some innovative and educational events for the week. Keelham Farm Shop, for example, has organised school visits, which will include a game of ‘pin the cuts of meat on the cow’. Butcher Lee Scott will also take part in a special ‘Ask the butcher’ event, with customers able to ask questions on everything from cheap cuts to culinary tips.

Both Prince and Son’s Family Butchers in Woking, Surrey and Meatline Ltd in Essex will be running sausage competitions, while West Country butchers Gerald David & Family will be holding spring lamb masterclasses, involving a meat cutting and cookery demonstration, at its various shops.

Blackmore Vale Butchery, in Dorset, is holding a raffle, with all customers to the shop during the week being given a free raffle ticket, with the chance to win a mixed meat hamper.

Butchery manager and master butcher Gavin Keen said: “National Butchers’ Week is a great opportunity for us to bang the drum for the local butcher and remind people that we are here to help,”

“Your local butcher has knowledge about meat that you won’t find anywhere else. We want to encourage people to tap into that knowledge, learn more about meat and, most importantly of all, learn how to cook it and enjoy it at home.”

The week has also earned the support of Channel 4’s The Fabulous Baker Brothers star Henry Herbert, who has agreed to be the face of this year’s National Butchers’ Week consumer campaign.

“I think National Butchers’ Week is a great thing for butchers to get involved with, because the more people who get on the back of the bandwagon, the bigger impact it has,” said Henry.

“It takes people to stand up and be noticed. As a butcher with my own shop, I like to be vocal and have an opinion and the more people that shout about it, the more notice it gets.”

National Butchers’ Week 2012 is being sponsored by Eblex, Bpex, Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), Lucas Ingredients, Gordon Rhodes (Dalesman) and Trunet. Other trade associations supporting the week include the National Federation of Meat & Food Traders, the Scottish Federation of Meat Traders Association and the Q Guild.

Follow the events of the week and share recipes on www.nationalbutchersweek.co.uk.