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Global warming? Tell that to the farmers!

What a year! The coldest and wettest on record! To think only a year ago Thames water was telling us that we are in a drought after the dry-est winter on record! Now, all the underground rivers are bursting at the seams and our poor farmers are struggling to plant their crops whilst coping with the lambing season in the most atrocious conditions.

Lambing season should be an exciting time for farmers but I suspect this year due to the conditions they will be struggling to complete all their important tasks due to the impossible weather conditions.

Farmers will be waiting for the last killing frost so they can plant the wheat for harvest later this year; for some this is a good and important source of income as world wheat prices are strong.

Nevertheless, all is not lost as some farmers may plan barley as it is a little more hardier than wheat and can be planted in wet conditions; barley will grow regardless and is a good food source for the farm animals. Many of our farmers will ‘shed’ their animals and use the barley as a main source of food for the animals when the conditions are as poor as they are now.

It depends on one question really; What is the farmers main source of income?  If it is crops such as wheat then they are in for a tough year if the weather doesn’t change to a drier outlook very soon.

Let’s hope the weather improves soon so our farmers can plant their crops and we can all burn the rust of our barbecues; who knows?


Save Bill &Ted

We have had notices from TFL demanding we remove our advertising boards that we have placed on our property because they are a ‘nuisance’.

TFL have been to all the stores along our part of Balham High road and have told everyone that ‘A-Boards’ are no longer allowed as they are ‘hazardous to pedestrians’.

I started a campaign on Twitter asking for support from local shops and the responce i got was phenomenal! I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who offered us support and give you all this little link to The Wandsworth Guardian who came to see us after hearing about our run in with TFL.

How we Select and Hang our Beef

When you are one of Britain’s best butchers it is important that our quality matches our skills and customer service; therefore we use our superior knowledge to select our superior beef.

We are very conscious of animal welfare and the feeds our animals receive; therefore, we will not buy from a farmer until we have inspected the farm. Our master butchers will make a site visit to a farm before we place them on our supplier list and this is followed by an independent inspection, commissioned by Chadwick’s Butchers. The European Food Safety Inspection Service (EFSIS) will inspect the site unannounced; they will consider animal welfare, feed processes, feed, the paperwork and passports of the animals.

Another one of our important standards is that we like our animals to be grass fed in the summer and in the winter when the weather is bad, and it isn’t possible grass feed the animals, we like them to be fed the barley and other feeds that are grown on the farm or locally. Such important standards ensure that the animal welfare is at it’s best and that the beef when produced will be tender and have a fabulous flavour with plenty of marbling and good conformation.

Our next requirement is the animals themselves must be pure bred; why pure bred? By choosing only rare breeds such as Red Poll, British white, Aberdeen Angus, Dexter Beef, Charolais and many others; we ensure the survival of the breeds as many of the above mentioned breeds were almost extinct 15 years ago. Another reason is that Rare Breeds are slow growing animals and therefore we are certain that the animal will never have been given growth hormones as such action would cause defects which is why they are not used by the big producers. Slow growing animals will ensure that the bone and muscle ratio is in correct proportion to the animals size.

Supermarkets will only use animals that are cross-bred and cross-bred again until they find the leanest and most suitable size for their use. This is based on size, conformaty of fat and lean content and quickness of growth which will force down the price. If an animal is too fat then the butchers in the factories will have to trim it, costing time, creating waste and inevitably more important for them is the loss of profit. Also, if they take too long to grow this will also add to the price due to feed costs and management costs. In contrast we only specify a that the animal is not overly fat and the size does not matter only the breed; the size is therefore determined by the breed.

We do prefer hiefer to bull meat as it tends to be sweeter and lighter, nevertheless we will buy bull meat with the right assurances from our farmer, however, this is rare as bulls are a very valuable asset to a small farmer.

There are other important technical specifications that we could use to determine fat coverage and meat content, however, we believe putting such restrictions on a farmer will inevitably lead to a more structured farming process and a less traditional approach.

When we hang our beef the time given to hanging is determined by the cut; for instance, we will hang the rib of beef from 21 days to 40 days. In fact we are already hanging ribs of beef for easter and have been hanging them for the last 2 weeks. In contrast the fore beef which is used for casseroles and stews will only need 10 to 14 days. The steaks such as sirloin, fillet and rump will need 21 -28 days and the topside around 21 days.

Why is our beef is superior and will always be superior to that of the supermarkets and big producers? They are tied in knots by the ‘profit gods’ where as we do our job because we love the people we work with and the community we live in and most importantly the customers we serve.

Tradition with Taste

Eating beyond the Horse-meat Scandal

We were all shocked by the level of horse-meat in the food system and considering the British system that is supposed to be the best in the world; the said system has failed on all counts as we have no idea how much horse-meat is in the system or where it is; it’s as elusive as the scarlet pimpernel himself. (We seek him here, we seek him there, the FSA seek him everywhere)

Nevertheless, perhaps because of the horse-meat scandal it has done us all a favour and it’s not the end of the world after all! At least we are now questioning the food we eat, starting to shop differently and buying products we know we can trust and in my case starting to exercise regularly.

For me, I am lucky and I don’t really have to shop differently as I always have quality meat to hand, however, I am questioning other products that I buy such as beer & lager.

I’ve never really been overly fond of pints of lager, thankfully I prefer a quality beer so give me a ‘waggledance’ any day. This is partly because many of the mainstream lagers in this country have countless chemicals added that are banned in other European countries. They always seem so Moorish and leave you dehydrated and needing more and more lager.

For instance, If you have ever drank a mainstream lager or bitter then it is likely that you have drank in your beer; betaglucanase which is used to speed up the brewing process and propylene glycol alginate which is added to keep that lovely ‘head’ on your pint. In fact below are some of the typical chemicals that may be in your pint and the brewer has no legal requirement to tell you.

Ammonia caramel
Rhoiso-alpha acids
Sulphur dioxide
Propylene glycol alginate
The Germans, who are famous for their great lagers, will use some or all of the above chemicals when making lager for the UK market, however, when making lager for sale in Germany they are not allowed to add such chemicals as they are banned due to the German ‘Purity Laws’. The German purity laws insist that inferior products and chemicals are clearly labelled on the product so the consumer can make an informed choice and guess what the consumer ‘don’t like’ so they don’t put the chemicals in! simple really isn’t it.
Perhaps some people out there that ‘love their chemicals’ power to the people and all that but I’m not one of them. For me, we need to send our politicians a strong message in the next election (perhaps a horses head left at the bottom of David Cameron and Nick Clegg’s respective beds might do it?) that we no longer want to be the worlds dumping ground for ‘crap food’ and unwanted ‘added chemicals’ (those chemicals are everywhere believe me; they are worse that the ‘reds under the beds’!).
Perhaps to change things the country needs shocking out of the current 3 party system so we can actually get some work done without mindless sensational media interference. Maybe we should all vote for any party other than Labour, Conservatives and Liberals after all they all lack common sense and are full of sound-bites seeking their next ’round of applause’ on question time, not-to-mention some of the ‘sensationalist butt-heads’ that work in  the media; perhaps we could introduce a law that insists all reporters have a higher IQ than a ‘wild bore’ sorry I meant to say wild boar which will remove such butt-heads from the industry and we can get back to proper investigative reporting.
Finally, if Cameron & Clegg or their colleagues need a sound-bite for their next appearance on the BBC’s ‘Question Time’ then here’s one for you both ‘you don’t need a silver fork to eat good food’.

Time Out Names Chadwick’s In Their Top Ten Butchers In London

I’m very pleased to provide you with the link to Time Out Magazines list of Top Ten London Butchers…… AND WE’RE ONE OF THEM!

I’m chuffed and feel all the staff in the store deserve all the praise in the world for all their hard work and dedication. We truly do work our socks off to make sure our customers only get the best meats and produce we can find.

Thanks Time Out!

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