A Rare taste
Published:  01 July, 2006

Flavoursome pork from traditional breeds, good customer service and a strong value-added range are all bringing the punters back to a Herefordshire butcher.

Located in the market town of Ledbury, Llandinabo Farm Shop was known as John Mills Traditional Breeds Butcher until the Traditional Breeds Meat Marketing Company (TBMM Co) assumed ownership in May 2005.

As TBMM Co's flagship store, it exclusively stocks meat from pedigree, rare and traditional breeds, as well as deli goods from local suppliers.

The shop will stock, for example, Tamworths and Large Blacks from the Hewell Grange prison in Worcester one week, British Saddlebacks from Craig Turner near Worcester the next and Gloucester Old Spots from Jane Smith at Usk the following week.

Ensors in Cinderford, Gloucestershire conducts the slaughtering with the shop getting through about six pigs a week.

Pork and pork products account for a third of shop sales, which are mainly over the counter but also through internet mail order, says manager Joe Arquati.

"The thing we know about pork is the rare breeds do have better flavour," says Arquati. "There's a very significant difference."

Customers arrive from as far afield as Wigan, Bristol and Cardiff, he adds: "It's not unusual for customers to come 70km." The shop also attracts tourists, who often complain that they cannot find butchers near their homes.

Flexibility is important, with shoppers offered tailored cuts, while a good and innovative display representing pork in varied formats can bring in new custom. The shop features photographs of the rare breeds it stocks and TBMM Co certification is on hand for every animal, offering total traceability.

The supply of recipes and cooking information is an important reason for customer satisfaction, adds Arquati.

The most popular pork primal cuts are loin and boned and rolled leg and shoulder joints. The meat is matured for four to five days, with the crackling kept dry at every stage to keep it light and crispy during cooking. Popular barbecue choices include marinated ribs and boneless chump steaks.

Bacon from traditional breeds also lends itself well to dry curing, with the resulting product neither steaming nor giving off white residue as mass produced bacon tends to. n